Despite the explosion, SpaceX highlighted several successes from Starship’s second test flight. The intended mission was to send the 165-foot-tall upper stage from SpaceX’s Starbase in Texas around Earth to the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. Although the mission failed, the megaproject achieved significant milestones, including a smooth liftoff.
SpaceX confirmed that all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster started and completed a full-duration burn. The booster successfully separated from the upper stage using the “hot staging” technique, a first for a vehicle of that size.
However, the Super Heavy suffered an explosion 3.5 minutes into the flight, while the upper stage reached a maximum altitude of 90 miles and a top speed of 14,900 mph. The flight ended with telemetry loss near the end of the second-stage burn, prompting a safe command destruct based on vehicle performance data.
The cause of the telemetry loss remains unknown, as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration oversees the investigation. SpaceX is already preparing for Starship’s third test flight, indicating the company’s desire to continue progress despite the setback.