Extruded chunks of concrete, bent metal and craters dug into the ground… The first takeoff power of the new SpaceX rocket, Starship, both the world’s largest and most powerful, has severely damaged its launch pad in Texas. It can take months to repair the damage caused. This may delay their next test flights Development of this rocket Still, NASA hopes to send its astronauts quickly the moon.
Before Thursday’s test flight, SpaceX boss Elon Musk’s only option was “not to destroy the launch pad.” His fear: That the rocket would explode before tearing off the ground — which it finally did four minutes after flying above the ocean. Leading with meter high mast. Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that “the engines, when they ignited, broke the concrete, not corroded it.”
A deep ditch
The massive missile tower withstood the shock. The huge platform (launch table) on which the vehicle rests is also damaged but still there. But under him, a deep pit has been dug, according to pictures published by experts on social networks. A desolate landscape reigns all around, a photographer noted. On departure, UGarbage rain mixed with the sea Neighbor shows video from SpaceX. According to local press, the dust cloud reached a small town several kilometers away.
“The radius of debris and debris may be larger than anyone expected,” Olivier de Weck, a professor in MIT’s department of aeronautics and astronautics, told AFP. And the teacher, many of his students work SpaceX To clarify: “The crater created must be filled and repaired, which will certainly take several months. »
The design of the launch pad is as complex as the rocket itself
After the test, Elon Musk The company began building a “water-cooled steel plate” on the bottom of the rocket, which he explained was ultimately “not ready in time.” He admitted that the company “mistakenly” thought the launch pad would withstand the test, adding that a new take-off would be possible “in a month or two”. Such a steel plate “would make sense, I think it would work,” Philip Metzger said. NASA Worked on the physics of launch pads. Spraying it with water will prevent the plaque from “melting away,” he explained.
It won’t solve the problem of sound waves, but “you can make a rocket strong enough to withstand it,” estimates the University of Central Florida scientist. He pointed out that designing a launch pad is as complicated as building a rocket.