Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship Test Rocket Toppled Over And Here’s Why [PHOTO]

SpaceX’s Starship Hopper prototype was recently damaged after strong winds blew its top section away from the rest of the giant test rocket.

SpaceX’s Starship Hopper prototype was recently damaged after strong winds blew its top section away from the rest of the giant test rocket.

On Wednesday, a rep from SpaceX told Business Insider that the fairing or nosecone, which is the tip of the rocket, had fallen over due to the powerful winds in the launch company’s base near the Boca Chica Village in south Texas.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk also confirmed reports about the vehicle toppling over on Twitter. He revealed that winds gusting at about 50 mph had also broken the mooring blocks during the night. The damage incurred by the test hopper will apparently take a few weeks to repair.

A Texas resident revealed that the strong winds felt like a “hurricane” during the early hours of Wednesday. The local, who asked not to be named, added that none of SpaceX’s preparations worked to protect their test rocket.

“Everything SpaceX did to get ready for this storm worked against them,” the resident said. “It looked like they blocked the wind coming from the southeast, but the winds shifted in the night and came from the northeast — and that sucker went flying.”

The Texas resident said that the winds had been as loud as a “freight train.” It was to the point that they hadn’t heard the crash of the nosecone falling off the vehicle due to the wind. The fairing has since been transported to a large shed where repairs would be made.

A photo of the broken off nosecone had been posted on Facebook on Wednesday morning, showing the extent of the damage caused by the fall. The top of the fairing had apparently been crumpled and broken open. The lower part of the rocket, however, remains unscathed, based on another image shared on Facebook.

Musk first unveiled the Starship test flight rocket on Jan. 11 on Twitter. The prototype is not intended to be the final design of the spaceship that will eventually send men and women to Mars. This was only meant to take off and “hop” at about 5 kilometers above the ground before landing back on the ground.

The test flights were expected to begin around February or March, but with this recent incident, it looks like that will be pushed to a later date.


SpaceXSpaceX’s Starship test flight rocket has been damaged by strong winds. Pictured: A mock up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is displayed during a media tour of SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on August 13, 2018 in Hawthorne, California.Photo: Getty Images/Robyn Beck

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SpaceX Starship prototype nosecone topples in high Texas winds

Part of SpaceX’s Starship prototype toppled over due to recent strong winds in Texas, causing damage that will take weeks to repair. The prototype …

Part of SpaceX’s Starship prototype toppled over due to recent strong winds in Texas, causing damage that will take weeks to repair. The prototype spaceship is being built in southern Texas, where a storm recently caused 50MPH winds strong enough to break mooring blocks and knock over the test rocket’s nosecone. The rocket’s base remained undamaged, however.

News of the incident first appeared in a tweeted image by Chris B. of the NASA SpaceFlight website. The incident was confirmed in later tweets stating that the damage will take “a few weeks” to fix. Though it’s a setback for the aerospace company, the damage won’t ultimately have a huge impact on SpaceX’s plans.

Whoops. Starship Hopper nosecone has been blown over in high winds.

📸NSF’s BocaChicaGal https://t.co/liIk970sm5pic.twitter.com/6rgGtZmAE2

— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) January 23, 2019

In its most recent update, NASA SpaceFlight states that the rocket fairing has been moved under a dome ahead of its planned repairs.

The Starship is made of stainless steel instead of carbon fiber due to a combination of its relative ease of use and lower cost. The prototype version of Starship is smaller than than the anticipated final rocket, and it’ll be used for flights that don’t go into orbit.

SpaceX is developing the Starship and Super Heavy Rocket as a reusable single system to eventually replace its Falcon 9, Heavy and Dragon products, the result being a single system for different types of space missions. SpaceX states on its website that Starship could be used for delivering satellite payloads, cargo and people to the ISS, and for deliveries to the moon and Mars.

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NASA swaps out astronauts for first manned flight on Boeing’s new ship

It’s already looking like 2019 is going to be an even bigger test for SpaceX, as well as competitor Boeing. Both groups are expected to soon begin their …

Last year was a huge year for private spaceflight, with a steady stream of very successful launches and huge progress being made on more ambitious ventures. It’s already looking like 2019 is going to be an even bigger test for SpaceX, as well as competitor Boeing. Both groups are expected to soon begin their new manned spacecraft systems that will eventually serve NASA’s needs, but first NASA has to make sure it has its crews ready.

In a new announcement, NASA reveals that it is swapping out one of the astronauts expected to participate in the very first manned flight of the Boeing Starliner ship, which will ferry travelers to and from the International Space Station.

The swap will see astronaut Eric Boe removed from the planned crew roster and replaced by Mike Fincke. NASA doesn’t offer much in the way of details surrounding the decision to shuffle the astronauts other than to say that Boe “is unable to fly due to medical reasons.” Boe was originally announced as a member of the crew in August 2018.

“Fincke will begin training immediately alongside NASA’s Nicole Mannand Boeing’s Chris Ferguson, who were both assigned to the mission in August 2018,” NASA says in a new blog post. “The Starliner’s Crew Flight Test will be the first time that the new spacecraft, which is being developed and built by Boeing as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is launched into space with humans on board.”

It’ll be a history-making flight in that Boeing is expected to be the first commercial partner to have its manned spacecraft ready to take passengers. Lots of things could change that, however, as both Boeing and SpaceX will need to prove to NASA that their ships are capable of safely transporting astronauts.

Before either SpaceX’s Crew Dragon or Boeing’s Starliner are allowed to carry a crew, both companies will showcase the capabilities of their hardware with unmanned test flights which will be closely monitored by NASA.

Image Source: Boeing

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Readies for Static Fire Test Ahead of Maiden Voyage

On February 16, SpaceX is set to finally launch the Crew Dragon on its maiden voyage, opening the way for resumed crewed flights to space from …
The launch date is of course subject to change, but this will not stop SpaceX from going ahead with preparations. The private space company has a static fire test scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The test is a rehearsal for the actual launch, without the Falcon 9 rocket that carries the Crew Dragon actually taking off. The Crew Dragon will be rolled out to the launch platform, raised upright and fueled. The launch countdown follows, and a brief ignition of the rocket engines occurs.

If the test goes well, SpaceX enters the final stretch toward a historic moment. The February launch is a test for a spaceship that has a lot riding on it, from trips to the International Space Station (ISS) to the eventual journey to Mars.

Among other things, the maiden flight will test the capsule’s capability to automatically dock with the ISS. The capsule will remain in orbit for a couple of days, then head back to Earth, where it will attempt a parachute-assisted landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

This first crewed test flight for the capsule is scheduled for June, with two NASA veterans on board: Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, both members of several Endeavour and Atlantis missions.

When fully operational, the Crew Dragon will be capable of carrying up to seven astronauts who will be seated in carbon fiber seats wrapped in Alcantara cloth. When perched on top the Big Falcon Rocket, it could head for the Moon or even Mars.

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NASA replaces Boeing Starliner astronaut before first crewed launch

If successful, Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, reportedly due to make its first launch — unmanned — on Feb. 9, will mark the first time in …
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NASA astronaut Mike Fincke (pictured) steps in to replace Eric Boe.

James Blair/NASA/JSC

Due to medical reasons, NASA has had to swap out one astronaut for another.

NASA astronaut E. Michael “Mike” Fincke will replace Eric Boe for the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s Crew Flight Test, scheduled to launch later in 2019.

“Boe is unable to fly due to medical reasons,” NASA said in a statement Tuesday, but he will stay on the mission as assistant to the chief for commercial crew at NASA’s Johnson Space Center — the role Fincke previously held.

Fincke is a seasoned replacement, having completed three space trips since joining the astronaut corps in 1996. He has spent 382 days in space and performed nine spacewalks.

Fincke joins astronauts Nicole Mann from NASA and Chris Ferguson from Boeing for the mission.

The Starliner’s Crew Flight Test will be the first manned launch of the spacecraft, which is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a partnership with Boeing and SpaceX aiming to launch humans to the International Space Station (ISS).

If successful, Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, reportedly due to make its first launch — unmanned — on Feb. 9, will mark the first time in history NASA has sent astronauts to space on systems “owned, built, tested and operated by private companies”.

NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011, and says working with Boeing and SpaceX will allow American astronauts to launch to the ISS from the US using American-made rockets for the first time since the closure.

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