Last week, SpaceX made headlines when it launched the Starship, the world’s tallest and most powerful rocket. However, during the vehicle’s first flight test, multiple engine failures caused the vehicle to lose altitude and tumble. So, SpaceX turned on the flight termination system for both the booster and the ship.
But that wasn’t the only damage done that day. The launch in Boca Chica, Texas, also did a lot of damage to a fourth-generation Dodge Grand Caravan parked nearby.
The minivan, which reportedly belonged to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Spaceflight, was left with other camera equipment to record the launch. Safety rules say that everyone has to leave the site before a launch, so no one was there, luckily.
Debris from the Starship’s takeoff was scattered over 1,600 feet, with a large piece of concrete hitting the back of the Dodge minivan, destroying its tailgate and rear roof portion. In addition, the impact shattered its windows, and a pool of liquid, potentially engine coolant, was found underneath the vehicle after the smoke cleared.
Starship first flight remote camera pickup part 1: utter carnage. @NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/kLt41vRO5s
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) April 22, 2023
Furthermore, various pieces of the wreckage landed roughly 2,000 feet away in the ocean.
The Super Heavy, which is the first stage or booster of the Starship launch system, features 33 Raptor engines that use sub-cooled liquid methane and liquid oxygen, providing double the output of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, which is currently in development. The SLS serves as the primary launch vehicle for the Artemis moon landing program.
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