Launch of world's biggest rocket Starship by SpaceX postponed with minutes to go

17 April 2023, 14:23 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 15:05

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said they will attempt to relaunch the rocket in a few days time
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said they will attempt to relaunch the rocket in a few days time. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The launch of the world's biggest rocket, Starship by SpaceX, has been postponed at the last minute after a "pressurization issue".

The SpaceX team earlier said the rocket would not launch if the issue was not solved today.

CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk said: "A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today."

Mr Musk said he had "learned a lot today" and that SpaceX would try a relaunch in a few days time.

SpaceX tweeted: "Standing down from today's flight test attempt; team is working towards next available opportunity."

The SpaceX Starship rocket stands on the launchpad ahead of its scheduled launch from the SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica
The SpaceX Starship rocket stands on the launchpad ahead of its scheduled launch from the SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica. Picture: Getty
Hundreds gather to see the launch of Starship by SpaceX
Hundreds gather to see the launch of Starship by SpaceX. Picture: Getty

The launch was expected to take place at around 8.20am local time (2.20pm in the UK).

Hundreds gather to see the launch, with many bringing camping chairs and blankets to prepare for the wait.

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The event will now be turned into a "wet dress rehearsal", meaning the team will run through what would have happened if the rocket had taken off.

The rocket is the world's biggest, standing at around 120 metres. That is nine metres taller than Nasa's Saturn V (111m), or Space Launch System (98m).

It has 33 engines and 16.7 million pounds of thrust.

SpaceX says it plans to use Starship to carry up to 100 people on long-duration interplanetary flights.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Picture: Alamy

Speaking on Twitter Spaces yesterday, Mr Musk said: "It's the first launch of a very complicated, gigantic rocket, so it might not launch. We're going to be very careful, and if we see anything that gives us concern, we will postpone the launch.

"If we do launch, I would consider anything that does not result in the destruction of the launch pad itself to be a win.

"Success is not what should be expected tomorrow. That would be insane."

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