In revelation of recent events, Kenneth Chang of the New York Times remarks, “Two spectacular flights, two spectacular crash landings. The third time was almost the charm.”
The Starship SN10
This statement is of course in reference to SpaceX’s recent Starship SN10 and the failed rockets before it. On March 3rd of 2021, at around 3:15 PM, the SN10 went to ignition and the countdown began. A few milliseconds before launching, the ship’s systems detected too much thrust from one of the thrusters, and the countdown and launch were aborted. The engineers decided it was not a significant risk, and three hours later, at 6:15 PM, the Starship SN10 took flight. It rocketed upwards, reaching 6.2 miles up into the sky. “It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” says 9th grader Max Jansen in response to watching the launch. As the rocket reached the apex of its trajectory, the thrusters kicked in slightly and maneuvered it into a horizontal position, which has held throughout the majority of freefall. At what seemed like the last second, the thrusters kicked into full, rotating the ship into a vertical “standing” position and bringing it to a gentle stop just before touching down.
SpaceX had finally done it. After so many reworks and iterations of their vision, they had constructed a spaceship that could safely (for the most part) launch and land without any form of destruction. Or so they thought.
About six minutes after touchdown, just as SpaceX had begun the recovery process for the vehicle, the rocket’s thrusters went up in flames. The bottom half of the starship had exploded, sending the remains bouncing skyward before returning to earth and igniting into a giant fireball. SpaceX has commented, stating that a leak from the propellant tank was the source of the SN10’s destruction.
What does it all mean
This launch marks a huge milestone for the SpaceX team and their goals of reaching the Moon; Mars; and the solar system, galaxy, and universe beyond. According to Mike Wall of Space.com, “SpaceX is developing Starship to get people and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations, and to fly any other missions the company requires.” They have made great headway towards this goal, and have already begun to plan out the final details of their process. Wall writes, “The final Starship will be brawny enough to get itself off the moon and Mars.”
How does this affect the students of Rowland Hall
When asked about his feelings towards the recent events, 9th-grade student Omar Alsolaiman stated, “it excites me because it's really cool and innovative technology and hopefully a path towards humanity's future.”
Students like Omar seem optimistic towards the rapid expansion of space travel. Some of these students are even interested in possible careers in the field. When asked about the viability of future professions in this field, Omar said “I think it brings a lot of career paths. Like when you think about it rocketry combines so many areas of everything.” When prompted for some examples of the careers he referenced above, Omar responded, “Electronics, propulsion, and mechanical engineering, human design, system design, and architecture.”
What it all boils down to is that in the near future, Rowland Hall students will be able to take advantage of this boom in interest towards space. With so many great job opportunities, our graduates will be out and thriving in this discovery-filled field!