2023-11-18 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-67462116?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

Raw: [The rocket’s flight was again cut short because of technical issues, but previous problems were fixed.] BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpYour accountHomeNewsSportEarthReelWorklifeTravelMore menuMore menuSearch BBCHomeNewsSportEarthReelWorklifeTravelCultureFutureMusicTVWeatherSoundsClose menuBBC NewsMenuHomeIsrael-Gaza warWar in UkraineClimateVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechMoreScienceEntertainment & ArtsHealthIn PicturesBBC VerifyWorld News TVNewsbeatScienceElon Musk's Starship rocket goes further and higher – but is then lostPublished13 minutes agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingMedia caption, Watch: SpaceX rocket launches, separates and loses contactBy Jonathan AmosScience correspondentUS company SpaceX says it has made significant progress in the development of its mammoth new rocket, Starship, after a second test flight from Texas.The 120m-tall (395ft) vehicle made an explosive debut in April, but went further and higher on its latest outing. The rocket's flight was again cut short because of technical issues, but it was clear previous problems had been fixed. The company was congratulated on its efforts by the American space agency.Nasa chief Bill Nelson tweeted: “Spaceflight is a bold adventure demanding a can-do spirit and daring innovation. Today's test is an opportunity to learn – then fly again.”The agency wants to use a version of Starship to land humans on the Moon later this decade.The two-part Starship vehicle left its launch complex at Boca Chica on the Texan coast just after 07:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on what was planned to be a 90-minute mission.The goal was to get the top segment – a 50m-tall (165ft) uncrewed stage called simply “the Ship” – to make one near-complete revolution of the Earth, ending in a splashdown near Hawaii.It didn't make it that far: Onboard computers terminated the mission with explosive charges about eight minutes after lift-off, for a reason that's not yet clear.But the mere fact that the flight lasted that long will be regarded as a big step on from what happened in April.Image source, ReutersImage caption, The early phases of flight experienced none of the drama seen in April's testBack then, Starship damaged its launchpad as it left the ground, suffered numerous engine failures on its lower-stage – the Super Heavy booster – and failed to separate the Ship at altitude as designed. Saturday's test got through all of those initial phases without drama.Engineers will though want to know why the booster tore itself apart shortly after stage separation and get to the root cause for the Ship's loss when it reached nearly 150km (90 miles) above the planet.”It's such an incredibly successful day, even though we did have a 'rapid unscheduled disassembly' of both the Super Heavy booster and the Ship,” observed SpaceX webcast commentator Kate Tice. “That's great. We got so much data and that will all help us to improve for our next flight.”The company has a production line at its R&D facility at Boca Chica. Pending permissions from federal licensing agencies, follow-on test-flights should now come thick and fast. Starship is the most powerful rocket system ever to lift off Earth.The 33 engines at the base of the Super Heavy booster produce 74 meganewtons of thrust. This dwarfs all previous vehicles, including those that sent men to the Moon in the 1960s/70s.If SpaceX engineers can perfect Starship, it will be revolutionary.It's intended to be fully and rapidly reusable, to operate much like an aeroplane that can be refuelled and put back in the air in quick order. This capability, along with the heft to put more than a hundred tonnes in orbit in one go, would radically lower the cost of space activity. For Elon Musk, Starship is key to realising his long-held ambition of taking people and supplies to Mars to establish a human settlement. It will also assist his Starlink project which is establishing a global network of broadband internet satellites.There are thousands of Starlink spacecraft in orbit already, but later models will be larger and heavier and Starship will be needed to get them to orbit.Image source, ReutersImage caption, The booster did its primary job of getting the system off the ground, but then explodedRelated TopicsElon MuskSpaceXTexasMore on this storyWatch Musk's rocket launch, separate and lose contact. Video, 00:01:56Watch Musk's rocket launch, separate and lose contactPublished1 hour ago1:56Top StoriesLive. Civilians flee main Gaza hospital on footBiden facing internal dissent over Israel's Gaza campaignPublished22 hours agoX ad boycott gathers pace amid antisemitism stormPublished5 hours agoFeaturesBiden facing internal dissent over Israel's Gaza campaignIs the world warming faster than we expected?Treason and bribery – a history of House expulsions‘Our lives have become a piece of hell in Sudan’War in maps: Ukraine claims foothold across key riverHow has The Crown handled Princess Diana's death?The man behind India’s dream run at Cricket World CupWill Argentina vote in a radical to fix the economy?Miss Universe: Can beauty pageants ever be inclusive?Elsewhere on the BBCThe raunchy books Britain lovesHow humans could travel through timeThe fried chicken served on TitanicMost Read1Taylor Swift 'devastated' as fan dies before show2US woman's dying wish erases $16m in medical debt3The extraordinary firing of an AI superstar4China navy used sonar pulses against divers, Australia says5Fewer cousins marrying in Bradford, study suggests6If I was a fan, I would tear Las Vegas down – Verstappen7X ad boycott gathers pace amid antisemitism storm8Cassie settles legal case accusing Diddy of rape9Bid to bar Trump from Republican ballot rejected10War in maps: Ukraine claims foothold across key riverBBC News ServicesOn your mobileOn smart speakersGet news alertsContact BBC NewsHomeNewsSportEarthReelWorklifeTravelCultureFutureMusicTVWeatherSoundsTerms of UseAbout the BBCPrivacy PolicyCookiesAccessibility HelpParental GuidanceContact the BBCGet Personalised NewslettersWhy you can trust the BBCAdvertise with us© 2023 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.