Just like with the first flight that took place in April, this new run on Saturday, November 18, achieved a lot, despite its ultimate failure.
The 33 Raptor engines of the Super Heavy booster and assembly ignited to lift the Starship off the pad in Boca Chica, Texas, proceeding to move towards the edge of space. Two minutes and a half into the flight, the Super Heavy and the Starship separated (a hot stage separation the likes of which was never attempted before on a space vehicle of this size), just like any self-respecting rocket is supposed to do.
The thing is that as soon as the Starship ignited its own engines, it caused the Super Heavy to fail and then blow up, as if trying to give the spacecraft a proper, spectacular send-off. As if trying to respect the tribute, the ship continued on its way for a while longer, until it too it was destroyed, on account of the flight termination system kicking in.
On a relatively funny note, SpaceX described the way the second Starship flight ended as being "a rapid unscheduled disassembly," but added these are normal occurrences in the development of new spacecraft technology, and "success comes from what we learn."
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the loss of the Starship caused "no injuries or public property damage." Even so, an investigation will be conducted into the reasons for the failure before the Starship is cleared to fly again.
Until that time, we tried to get together some of the most spectacular photos of the SpaceX flight test available, for all of us to enjoy. After all, it's not everyday we humans get to witness the testing of a vehicle that will probably have a big say in spreading human presence on the suitable planets and Moons of the solar system.
We'll leave you to it to enjoy in the attached gallery images of the Super Heavy's 33 engines burning hot as they push the rocket up, images of the hot-stage separation that looks like something crossing an interdimensional fold, and even some blurry instances of the unscheduled disassembly.