SpaceX live updates: FAA investigating explosion of Starship rocket


(BOCA CHICA, Texas) — SpaceX will attempt a second launch of its Starship rocket after the first launch attempt was scrubbed due to a frozen valve in the pressurization system.

The launch will take place at the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas — about 20 miles east of Brownsville — with a 62-minute window opening at 9:28 a.m. ET. A live webcast will begin 45 minutes before liftoff.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Apr 20, 11:40 AM EDT
FAA investigating Starship explosion

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the explosion of SpaceX’s Starship that occurred a few minutes after liftoff.

The agency is responsible for protecting Americans during commercial space transportation launch and reentry operations.

“An anomaly occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation resulting in a loss of the vehicle,” the FAA said in a statement. “No injuries or public property damage have been reported.”

“The FAA will oversee the mishap investigation of the Starship/Super Heavy test mission. A return to flight of the Starship/Super Heavy vehicle is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety. This is standard practice for all mishap investigations.”

SpaceX said the rocket’s boosters did not properly separate following the launch.

-ABC News’ Gina Sunseri

Apr 20, 10:35 AM EDT
Elon Musk says next launch will be in ‘a few months’

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk congratulated the team in a tweet and said the next launch would be later this year, but didn’t give any specific dates.

“Congrats SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship!” Musk tweeted. “Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months.”

Musk also shared a video of the Starship rocket right after liftoff.

Apr 20, 10:05 AM EDT
SpaceX congratulates team even after rocket self-destructs

SpaceX congratulated the team behind the Starship rocket launch, even after it was forced to self-destruct when the boosters failed to separate.

“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 multi-planetary,” SpaceX tweeted.

“Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting first integrated flight test of Starship!”

SpaceX said the team will be reviewing the data and working towards its next launch attempt.

Apr 20, 9:46 AM EDT
Starship boosters fail to separate from shuttle, rocket blown up

SpaceX was able to get its Starship rocket off the pad, but all didn’t go as planned.

About three minutes into flight, “Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation,” SpaceX tweeted.

Therefore, SpaceX was forced to abort the mission and blow up the rocket, but the team says it’s more of a “success” than they hoped for.

Apr 20, 9:39 AM EDT
Starship launches into space

Starship launched at 9:33 a.m. ET, just five minutes after the launch window opened, on its inaugural flight.

The shuttle is currently the largest spacecraft in the world at about 393 feet and is expected to eventually carry passengers to the moon and Mars in a similar vein to NASA’s Artemis mission.

Starship is designed to carry up to 100 people on long-duration, interplanetary flights.

Apr 20, 9:23 AM EDT
What Starship’s journey will look like

For this first flight test, SpaceX said Starship will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the booster.

If successful, Starship and its rocket, which is called Super Heavy, will head up to the skies and 33 Raptor engines will ignite simultaneously. About eight minutes after liftoff, Super Heavy will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the spacecraft will travel about 150 miles — partially around the Earth — and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii about 90 minutes after liftoff.

There will be a 62-minute window opening at 9:28 a.m. ET. A live webcast began 45 minutes before liftoff.

Apr 20, 8:45 AM EDT
Starship rocket is being loaded

SpaceX is fueling its Starship rocket — the world’s larger spacecraft — as it attempts a second launch.

The first launch attempt was scrubbed Monday due to a frozen valve in the pressurization system.

“The Starship team is go for prop load; team is keeping an eye on the weather,” SpaceX said in a tweet.

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