The launch of Starship, Elon Musk’s moon landing ship, is cancelled Sciences

Elon Musk’s SpaceX canceled today due to technical problems the first test of the Starship, the ship it hopes will be able to carry up to 100 passengers to the Moon and Mars. The ship was to take off on the Super Heavy, the most powerful rocket in history. The launch attempt was scheduled for 3:20 p.m., Spanish Peninsula time, from the company’s base near the Texas town of Brownsville, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The reason for the cancellation seems to be a malfunction of the pressure valve, As Musk himself explained On the social network Twitter, which he also owns. SpaceX expects to be able to launch within 48 hours, which is Wednesday at the earliest.

Starship is an essential part of the new space race to the moon led by the United States. The reusable ship would, in theory, be responsible for ferrying the first astronauts to the lunar surface more than 50 years ago: a woman and a non-white person, according to plans by the US space agency, which has $1 million. Contract with Musk to use Starship. The chosen date is 2025, though it remains to be seen if the ship will be ready by then.

This will be the Super Heavy’s first flight paired with a Starship, though SpaceX has already had 31 of the 33 engines running simultaneously.

Spectators before the launch of SpaceX's Starship in Brownsville, Texas, on Monday.
Spectators before the launch of SpaceX’s Starship in Brownsville, Texas, on Monday.Joe Nakamura (Reuters)

The reusable Super Heavy rocket, a monster as tall as a 40-story building, was to propel the spacecraft for eight minutes until it launched into Earth orbit. The vehicle on top of the rocket will reach an altitude of about 240 kilometers and fly for 90 minutes. The aircraft is designed to land vertically and be reused. The test focused only on takeoff and flight without a crew or satellites, which were expected to drop the spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean about 100 km north of the island of Kauai, in Hawaii (USA).

On Sunday afternoon, Elon Musk did indeed lower expectations in a speech to users of Twitter, the social network he also owns. He asserted that there were “a million reasons” why the test had failed, and warned that if they saw risks they would abort the attempt. “There is a good chance that we will delay it, because we are going to be very careful with this release. And if things go wrong there are a lot of things that can go wrong.”

One of the obsessions of the billionaire and the rest of the company’s 11,000 employees is to launch the rocket successfully and get as far away as possible from the huge 146-meter-high launch pad, which is also designed to re-hunt the rocket once. . But in this test the artifact will fall into the sea in the Gulf of Mexico.

Starship spacecraft, atop a Super Heavy rocket in Boca Chica, Texas on April 10, 2023.
Starship spacecraft, atop a Super Heavy rocket in Boca Chica, Texas on April 10, 2023.– (AFP)

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