Elon Musk has confessed the reason for the mid-flight explosion of the Starship

The CEO of SpaceX gave the answer to a question that had us on edge.

Elon Musk has confessed the reason for the mid-flight explosion of the Starship
Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

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The day we set foot on Mars will be partly thanks to Elon Musk’s Starship spacecraft and SpaceX. This spacecraft is the most impressive ever built and is the chosen one to kick off human space exploration.


The second integrated test flight of the largest spacecraft ever built by humanity, SpaceX’s Starship, was a great success.

In mid-November, it took off from Boca Chica (Texas), cleared the launch tower without any issues (unlike the first flight), performed a hot separation from the Super Heavy first stage, and crossed the Kármán line to reach space for the first time.

However, despite the success and general excitement, the rocket experienced some setbacks during the flight. Shortly after stage separation, the Super Heavy rocket disintegrated on the way back. And the same happened to the Starship itself eight minutes into the flight.

Why did Elon Musk’s rocket explode?

There was much speculation on social media about the cause and role of the flight termination system, which is supposed to disintegrate the rocket in case things don’t go as planned.

Now, two months later, Elon Musk has finally revealed what happened in an update presentation of SpaceX company in Starbase.

In summary, the heaviest rocket in the world was too light: “The second flight almost reached orbit. In fact, ironically, if it had had a payload, it would have reached orbit. The reason it didn’t reach orbit was that we vented the oxygen, and the liquid oxygen ended up causing a fire and an explosion. So, ironically, if it had had a payload, it would have reached orbit.”

The doubts we have about the Starship

What we still don’t know is the exact cause that led to Super Heavy’s failure during the booster burn.

Anyway, Elon Musk still fully agrees to destroy some more rockets if that means Starship will be operational sooner than expected.

“It is always better to sacrifice hardware than to sacrifice time. Time is the only currency”, said the CEO of SpaceX.

The new key milestones for the third integrated test flight include the execution of the engine combustion in space from a header tank and the safe deorbit of the spacecraft.


SpaceX also wants to carry out the first tests of propellant transfer technology and test its payload door and deployment mechanism for its Starlink satellites. The flight is currently scheduled for February.

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Journalist specialized in technology, entertainment and video games. Writing about what I'm passionate about (gadgets, games and movies) allows me to stay sane and wake up with a smile on my face when the alarm clock goes off. PS: this is not true 100% of the time.

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