Science & Technology

SpaceX delays historic Starship launch due to technical problems

Miami, Apr 17 (EFE).- The much-anticipated launch of SpaceX’s Starship rocket system, regarded as the largest and most powerful ever built, was delayed on Monday for at least 48 hours due to technical problems.

The uncrewed mission had been scheduled to lift-off from the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, during a 150-minute window starting at 8 am local time.

The technicians said a frozen “pressurant valve” was the reason for the delay of the first launch of the Starship, which is designed to eventually carry crew and cargo to the Moon and Mars.

“Standing down from today’s flight test attempt; team is working towards next available opportunity,” SpaceX said on Twitter.

Shortly beforehand, the chief executive officer and chief engineer of SpaceX and CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk, had announced the delay in a tweet on his personal account.

“A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today,” Musk wrote.

He later said: “learned a lot today, now offloading propellant, retrying in a few days.”

SpaceX later placed the emphasis on the lessons learned.

“With a test such as this, success is measured by how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship.”

It now remains to be seen if the launch can take place on Wednesday or will need to be delayed further.

After many years of preparation by SpaceX, the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday gave the green light for the first test flight of the giant Starship.

The Starship deep-space rocket system consists of a huge first-stage booster, known as Super Heavy, and an upper-stage spacecraft called Starship.

The Starship-Super Heavy duo, which stands 120 meters (394 feet) tall and has a diameter of 9 m, is capable of transporting up to 150 metric tons in its fully reusable configuration, according to SpaceX’s calculations.

The goal is to use the spacecraft in the future to ferry up to 100 people to Mars.

In the test flight that was postponed on Monday, the Super Heavy booster was to have fallen to a rocket-powered splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after lift-off, although the future objective is for both the booster and the spacecraft to land in an upright, vertical position.

Prior to the Starship, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built had been the Saturn V, which was used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s and stood 110 m in height. EFE


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