The world’s largest and most powerful rocket to have ever been developed which is capable of carrying crew and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond has been postponed.
The SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy rocket known only as Starship was postponed 40 seconds before it was due for blast off.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk Tweeted, “A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today.”
Musk continued, “It’s the first launch of a very complicated, gigantic rocket. There’s a million ways this rocket could fail. We’re going to be very careful — and, if we see anything that gives us concern, we’ll postpone.”
He added, “If we get far enough away from the launchpad before something goes wrong then I think I would consider that to be a success.”
SpaceX Quality Systems Engineer Kate Tice said: “It’s unfortunate, of course — we wanted to see fire today and lift off. But that’s ok!
“The point of the countdown is to allow the teams to progress to that T–0 time in a coordinated fashion, and really to unveil any issues prior to the ignition sequence.
“So, the countdown did its job today — it allowed us to identify that pressure issue.”
British astronaut Tim Peake said: “SpaceX really is thinking big with Starship.
“This is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built.
“But its ambition goes way beyond its gargantuan size: it is hoped that the rocket will herald a new era of deep space exploration, unlocking the potential for humans to visit other planets.
“This programme could be the launchpad for hugely exciting scientific research.
“I’m convinced that collaboration with commercial operators like SpaceX is vital for pushing the boundaries and enabling this new era of deep space exploration.”
SpaceX’s Space Operations Manager Siva Bharadvaj said: “Today’s test will be the first of many as we work towards transitioning Starship from a developmental to an operation programme.
“Our primary objective today is to gather as much data as we can around the fully integrated vehicles — that means the [Super Heavy] booster, and the Starship, and the ground systems.
“While we have flown Starship [the second-stage] in the past, this will be the first attempt of Super Heavy and the first opportunity to validate how the two vehicles work together.”