SpaceX has a lot of work to do before launching Starship again

  • SpaceX’s latest launch sent debris flying into the air causing a fire at a nearby state park.
  • While no wildlife or birds are said to have been harmed, the likes of the Federal Aviation Authority wants to insure that there is no danger to humans.
  • SpaceX will need to build a water-cooled steel plate to protect the ground before it launches Starship and Super Heavy again.

As monumental as the launch of SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy integrated rocket was, that launch pretty much destroyed the launchpad at Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

Not only was the launchpad a crater, given the spacecraft’s “rapid unscheduled disassembly” parts of the rocket are littered across Texas and some debris even started fires.

One fire was started on state park land south of Starbase and that has drawn the attention of the US Fish and Wildlife Service according to a Bloomberg report.

The agency said in an emailed statement that no birds or wildlife were hurt during the launch but that its staff documented 385 acres (156 hectares) of debris at both Starbase and Boca Chica State Park. The cloud that the rocket pushed out contained pulverised concrete among other materials with some materials being found over 10km away from the launch site.

Shortly after Starship met its fiery end, the Federal Aviation Authority launched a mishap investigation. This investigation will determine whether the failure of the rocket affects public safety. This is standard practice but it’s likely to delay the next launch depending on how long the investigation runs for.

Should SpaceX make it through this scrutiny unscathed, it will still have to rebuild its launch pad while also adapting it to handle the fury of the Raptor engines.

Responding to a tweet (because of course that’s where he communicates important news) Elon Musk said that SpaceX has been constructing a water-cooled steel plate to go under the launch mount. While the firm had hoped this would be ready in time it wasn’t.

With that having been said, Musk claims that Starship will be able to launch in up to two months.

Of course, the agencies that are now investigating the launch and the damage it caused could also present a roadblock for Musk.

For now though, SpaceX best get to work on that launch protector if it wants to launch Starship regularly and without having to abide by an investigation again.


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