Elon Musk Vents Frustration Following Rocket Test Failure In Texas

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Space Exploration Technology Corp.'s (SpaceX) chief executive and engineer Mr. Elon Musk took to Twitter to vent out his frustration after his company failed to successfully land a prototype of its next-generation Starship crew and cargo launch vehicle platform on Tuesday. The failure resulted as one of the Starship prototype's Raptor full-flow staged-combustion methane-fuelled rocket engine failed to reignite as it attempted to land. As a result, the vehicle had insufficient thrust to counter the force of gravity, and as opposed to an earlier test, crashed in a tilted position.

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The executive's comments came as a surprise as a handful of days back he had stated that he would be leaving Twitter for a while. This announcement came after Mr. Musk joined the conversation surrounding the meteoric rise of GameStop Corp.'s shares after a Reddit forum went against venture capitalists betting against the stock through short selling. He then went on to join popular trading application RobinHood's chief Vlad Tenev in a discussion around the entire affair on the audio-chat social networking application Clubhouse, where he questioned Mr. Tenev about why the latter's application had stopped trading for the stock as things heated up between the Redditors and the short-sellers.

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Strangely, the host of Tweets that followed his announcement to leave were made from a Twitter web application. Musk generally posts through the platform's iPhone application and this discrepancy has caused some to question whether the messages are authentic, or if the executive's account has been compromised. Until now, even though he made other tweets that seemingly pushed cryptocurrency Dogecoin's price to new highs, the tweets are yet to be deleted; suggesting that it was indeed Musk who posted them.

When asked by Robert Woodhead founder and manager of entertainment company AnimEigo about why SpaceX did not reignite all three Raptor engines during the landing attempt and then decide which engine to shut off, Musk's reply was rather simple. In what can either be construed as sarcasm or an admission of failure, the executive simply replied, "We were too dumb."  What is clear is that the C.E.O. whose company became the first to successfully land first-stage rocket boosters after nearly going out of business is frustrated by a lack of development progress on a platform that he intends to make humanity a multi-planetary species.

Woodhead took Musk's reply in good stride and went on to remind him that it took the Falcon 9 three attempts before it successfully managed to reland the rocket's first stage. When compared to the Falcon in size and scope, Starship is orders of magnitude greater, and the prototypes that SpaceX is currently testing represent the platform's upper or second stage. Should the company finish Starship development, a process that Musk hopes will be partially finished by 2022, it will become the first in history to have developed a platform whose upper stage is capable of landing through its engines and refueling after take-off.

SpaceX tested the Starship SN9 prototype earlier this week, following which the company confirmed that the Raptor engine's failure to reignite was the cause behind the latest crash. Its previous test, which destroyed the SN8 prototype, failed due to fuel not flowing to one of the engines during landing, causing its copper components to melt because of the oxidizer. A rocket engine uses fuel and oxidizer for combustion to generate thrust, and for the Raptor, both these are first ignited in pre burners before being mixed in the primary combustion chamber.

The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. WCCF TECH INC has a disclosure and ethics policy.
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