In the technology business we often assess new products from specs on a page then step it up with a hands-on impression, maybe even run a few programs to simulate performance. Unless you have a long term review going, you may miss a flaw or cool feature. Unfortunately some companies have been busted making products that excel at tests only. Essentially cheating.
When it comes to space travel, you can’t cheat.
SpaceX’s rapid burn-and-learn approach can look like a failure when there’s a massive explosion at the end of it – but the reality is – this is progress.
Nothing beats a real world test.
And that’s why the latest flight test of Starship was a success. Improvements were made from the first launch and that’s what matters. SpaceX is able to get real world data from these launches that offer way more than any computer simulation.
SpaceX posted this response:
“Starship successfully lifted off under the power of all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster and made it through a successful stage separation.
“The booster experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly after its boostback burn following the successful stage separation while Starship’s 6 second stage Raptor engines fired for several minutes as the Ship climbed to an altitude of ~150 kilometres.
“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary.”
The key takeaways for me are:
1. ALL 33 RAPTOR BOOSTER ENGINES WORKED TO STAGE SEPARATION
2. STAGE SEPARATION WAS SUCCESSFUL
3. FIRST HOT STAGING
4. STARSHIP MADE IT TO SPACE (150km)
5. LAUNCHP PAD IMPROVEMENTS WORKED
SpaceX is failing fast but more importantly, learning faster.