NASA Praises SpaceX's Starship Launch Despite Explosion, Future Plans for Moon Exploration Hinge on Starship's Success

NASA leaders hail SpaceX's Starship launch despite the explosion and celebrate it as a significant milestone for the agency's moon plans.

Apr 21, 2023 - 10:11
Apr 21, 2023 - 10:12
NASA Praises SpaceX's Starship Launch Despite Explosion, Future Plans for Moon Exploration Hinge on Starship's Success
NASA Praises SpaceX's Starship Launch Despite Explosion

NASA has praised the recent test flight of SpaceX's Starship, despite its explosive end. The space agency is relying on Starship for its upcoming Artemis 3 mission to put astronauts back on the moon in 2025, with plans for further moon landings. Despite the failed launch, NASA leadership has commended SpaceX's efforts, with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson congratulating the company and acknowledging that "with great risk comes great reward". The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has also praised SpaceX's work, recognizing the countless industry professionals who helped design, build, and test the new system.

NASA's Artemis Mission Banks on Starship's Success:

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Free praised SpaceX's Starship launch despite its explosive end during the test flight. NASA has chosen Starship for its upcoming Artemis 3 mission, which aims to put astronauts back on the moon no earlier than 2025. NASA's current plans also include using Starship to ferry human crews to and from the lunar surface for Artemis 4 and possibly Artemis 5.

With such a significant stake in the successful development of the massive stainless steel vehicle, NASA leaders lauded today's flight test as a crucial step forward in the agency's moon plans. Bill Nelson congratulated SpaceX on the launch, tweeting that "every great achievement throughout history has demanded some level of calculated risk, because with great risk comes great reward. Looking forward to all that SpaceX learns, to the next flight test — and beyond."

Jim Free also expressed his enthusiasm on Twitter, saying that Starship would help move the agency towards a crewed landing on the moon as part of the Artemis program. "Looking forward to learning from the data SpaceX captured as they continue to develop the Starship human landing system and prepare for their next flight test," he wrote.

AIAA Commends SpaceX's Flight Test:

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) also congratulated SpaceX on the launch. AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher issued a statement praising the company's continued work to advance spaceflight. He described the flight as an important milestone and acknowledged that much could be learned from the engineering data gathered during the test.

Dumbacher wrote, "With Starship, SpaceX is taking bold steps that are helping us accelerate the future of humans living and working off our planet. Flight tests and taking risks will lead to this future. We applaud AIAA Corporate Member SpaceX for shaping the future of aerospace."

SpaceX Celebrates Despite the Explosion

Despite the test flight ending in an explosive "rapid unscheduled disassembly," SpaceX hailed the launch as a success. The fact that Starship cleared its launch tower and survived Max-Q, the point at which a vehicle experiences the highest level of stresses during a flight, marks a crucial milestone in the development of the revolutionary vehicle.

SpaceX's Starship falls to Earth after exploding on its first test flight on April 20, 2023. (Image credit: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

In a tweet, the company wrote, "With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today's test will help us improve Starship's reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary."

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