SpaceX recently conducted its first orbital test flight of Starship, the rocket poised to be the transportation method astronauts will take to walk on the surface of Mars.
Starship's first orbital test flight took place on April 20, and only four minutes after liftoff, SpaceX was forced into initiating the flight termination sequence that resulted in the nearly 400-foot rocket exploding mid-air. The call to terminate the mission came after Starship's first-stage booster, Super Heavy, failed to detach from the second-stage spacecraft, causing the entire rocket to begin to tumble, lose altitude, and ultimately, fail its mission.
Despite this tragic ending, SpaceX employees, along with company CEO Elon Musk rejoiced at what was achieved in the short amount of time Starship was airborne, with Musk taking to Twitter to congratulate all SpaceX employees on a great launch. So, why was SpaceX happy even though Starship was intentionally exploded? It's simple, SpaceX, along with Elon Musk, believed there was about a 50/50 chance Starship would even make it off the launch pad. Additionally, SpaceX was just happy to see Starship reach a height above its launch tower.
While SpaceX seems to be happy with the data it acquired from the launch, which it says will be used to improve the upcoming launch that's going to happen in the next few months, not all were so lucky. Chris Bergin from NASASpaceFlight (NSF) captured the moment debris from Starship's launch destroyed his minivan. The van wasn't completely destroyed, but it certainly endured significant damage as it seems a piece of concrete from the launch site was hurled at the vehicle, colliding with the left-hand side rear window.
Bergin took to Twitter to note that NSF "takes these risks on purpose" to get the amazing shots of rocket launches we see scattered around the internet. The reporter further explains that NSF is grateful to rocket companies for allowing media to enter the "danger zone" to place cameras and capture these events. However, sometimes not all photoshoots go to plan and camera equipment, or in this case, mini vans, can get severely damaged.
In other news, NASA has confirmed its $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope has glitched, and an investigation has been launched by engineers who are planning on analyzing Webb's instruments to determine if any impact has been made. Additionally, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has revealed that nearly 25,000 people are paying him $4 a month for exclusive content, meaning Musk is generating nearly $100,000 per month from "this and that". If you are interested in reading more about any of those stories, check out the below links.