SpaceX’s entire existence is on the controversial side. As the illustrious Space Race of the 20th century wound down, government funding for space exploration and upkeep did as well. But one billionaire was unwilling to see decades of progress come to a halt. Thus the Tesla tycoon Elon Musk decided to take matters into his own hands…and take on some of the heftier price tags to maintain space activity. Behold, SpaceX.
Designed as a space exploration technology corporation, its primary goal is to privately help NASA with as much aerospace manufacturing and transportation as is legal under their Space Act Agreement – but longterm, Musk really wants to use it to get to Mars faster. Of course, being the check payer and all, Musk has a lot more say in what, when, and how things are going down in space. But so far, SpaceX has already seen many successful products and missions through its partnership with NASA.
This week, though, temperatures rose a bit too high at the testing grounds for their newest rocket model, Starship. And thanks to some local space enthusiasts who set up camp near the Boca Chica, Texas testing grounds to film the showdown, the rest of us were able to see it on camera.
Naturally, the footage went viral – and SpaceX had to answer to some curious investigators, who might not be signing up for trips to space anytime soon. Apparently, they were conducting pressure tests on the spacecraft when it partially burst apart. Particles from the ship could be seen skyrocketing above the fire and smoke.
A spokesperson for SpaceX explained that this wasn’t anything to be alarmed by. “The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected,” he said. “There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”
But that might be harder to explain to the many investors who are backing SpaceX. Either way, Musk seems undeterred, and will continue working on a more flight-safe design of the same model.