Absence of cargo: SpaceX says the cause of the Starship explosion

The reason for the destruction of the prototype of the Starship spacecraft, which occurred during the November test flight, was the venting of liquid oxygen. This was stated by the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk.

The second flight of the Super Heavy rocket with the Starship spacecraft on November 18, 2023. The photo shows the moment of separation of Starship from Super Heavy. Source: SpaceX

We are talking about the flight that took place on November 18. After the separation of the Super Heavy booster, Starship continued acceleration and was very close to reaching the first space speed and entering orbit. But when there were literally seconds left until that moment, the spacecraft crashed.

According to Musk, the reason for this was the venting of excess liquid oxygen. It was produced due to the fact that the rocket did not carry a payload. If there was any cargo on board the Starship, all the oxygen would have been used up by the Raptor engines to reach orbit. Venting of the fuel tanks provoked a fire and explosion, which led to the activation of the automatic flight termination system.

According to Musk, the cause of the accident gives him confidence about the next test flight. He believes that the company has every chance to reach orbit from the third time.

It is worth noting that Elon Musk did not provide any details on exactly how the venting of the fuel tanks caused the fire. He also didn’t say anything about the Super Heavy explosion. At the same time, the billionaire announced plans to create a new, even larger modification of the spacecraft. The length of the bundle of Starship and Super Heavy will grow to 140–150 meters (now 121 meters), and the load capacity in a one-time configuration will be up to 200 tons.

According to https://spacenews.com

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