The most anticipated test of the year was interrupted just 40 seconds before liftoff. SpaceX ‘s Starship postponed the launch to Thursday, April 20th. The 62-minute launch window will start at 9:28 am CET tomorrow. If there are no further setbacks, we could finally see humanity’s largest and most powerful rocket ever built, rocketing towards Earth’s orbit.
Technical reasons for delay
The technical reasons for the delay are to be found in the Starship’s Booster 7 (first stage). The most delicate phase during liftoff is the filling of the fuel tanks (methane and oxygen), and once again, problems arose during this important technical step. On this occasion, a valve that controls the pressurization of the first stage’s tank froze, preventing it from functioning correctly.
The official communications explaining the incident did not take long to arrive, as is the company’s style. As often happens, CEO Elon Musk personally explained why SpaceX postponed the Starship launch via his Twitter profile. Musk was keen to emphasize that despite the unexpected problem, the company and its engineers have once again learned a lot. It is not surprising that something could go wrong in such a complex project. A rocket in two stages, completely innovative and over 120m high, requires thousands of checks and operations just to launch.
Furthermore, it is worth remembering that the company’s philosophy has always been based on the technical analysis of its failures. SpaceX’s modus operandi has led to its significant successes today, such as contracts with NASA and the Starlink constellation. It is worth noting that it is the world’s first company to consistently launch fully reusable rockets with an operation cost several times lower than in the recent past.
We just have to wait to see what will happen tomorrow starting at 2:30 pm Italian time. The success of the Starship system will be the first step towards returning to the Moon and the beginning of the journey to Mars and beyond in the Solar System.