SpaceX CEO Elon Musk considers the first launch of the Starship spacecraft on April 20 a success. the spacecraft was able to take off and at least it didn't blow up the launch pad. The US Federal Aviation Administration, however, is now investigating the Starship launch amid reports of damage it caused.
Thus, as a result of the launch of the spaceship, a huge hole appeared on the launch pad, the local infrastructure was noticeably damaged. Devastation was also reported in a neighboring town and a nearby beach, and ash "rained" in an area home to endangered species.
The Starship rocket left such a crater on the launch pad of:
Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that the Fondag type concrete used in the construction of the launch pad was considered reliable for the test launch of the rocket. This was also evidenced by the data of static fire tests, which were conducted many times. In addition, three months ago, specialists began to build a huge water-cooled steel platform, which was planned to be placed under the launch pad to extinguish the flames from the engines. However, they did not manage to install it before the first launch of Starship.
Here is how the structures near the launch pad were damaged:
According to experts, the launch pad's concrete supports and everything on the lower levels, including the service tower's filling wing, were damaged. Large chunks of concrete hit the structures of adjacent infrastructure facilities in many places, actual steel structures are found to be stronger than concrete structures.
Impacted concrete slabs:
The tanks of the charging infrastructure were also noticeably damaged: some of them were punctured (for example, the nitrogen tank), and others had scratches of various sizes.
It is possible that chunks of concrete also damaged the rocket's engines during launch, which eventually led to a loss of thrust and control, forcing the spacecraft to detonate in mid-air along with the rocket.
As reported by Livescience.com, dust, debris and debris from the test flight and subsequent explosion fell on residents of Port Isabel, Texas, about 10 km from the launch site, as well as on the beaches of Boca Chica, which are home to endangered species, including are nesting places for birds and sea turtles.
It is planned that the damage done to the launch pad and the nearby infrastructure will be repaired quite quickly, and Elon Musk does not rule out that it will be possible to restart the rocket already in May. However, it remains unclear whether the US Federal Aviation Administration will allow it, given that the missile has proven to be quite dangerous.