Elon Musk revealed the cause of the explosion of the second Starship — the ship was too light

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed the reason why the Starship spacecraft exploded during its second test flight and failed to enter orbit.. The point, it turns out, is that it took off without a payload.

Image source: spacex.com

The second test flight of the largest space rocket in history, Starship, attracted a lot of attention.. The rocket launched on November 18, 2023 from the SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, took off normally, separated the first stage, crossed the Karman line and reached space for the first time. And then the problems started. Shortly after separation, the Super Heavy booster exploded, and the same fate befell Starship eight minutes into its flight.

And only now, two months later, Elon Musk spoke about what happened then. “On the second flight we almost managed to enter orbit. Ironically, if [the ship] had a payload, it would have gone into orbit. So the reason it actually couldn't get into orbit was because we released the oxygen, and the liquid oxygen ended up catching fire and exploding.. All because we wanted to release liquid oxygen, and under normal conditions we would not have this liquid oxygen if we had a payload. So, ironically, if [the ship] had a payload, it would have reached orbit,» Musk said.. He never spoke about the reasons for the explosion of Super Heavy.

But Musk confirmed that he is ready to destroy several more missiles if this speeds up the commissioning of Starship. “It’s always better to sacrifice equipment than time. Time, so to speak, is the only real currency,” the businessman added.

During the third test flight, SpaceX intends to fire the Starship engines and successfully return the ship from orbit. The company also wants to conduct early tests of fuel transfer technology, test the payload hatch and Starlink satellite deployment mechanism. The flight is scheduled for February and is currently awaiting approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).