Contrary to several key players in the space industry, an analyst from Cathie Wood-led Ark Investment Management deems the second flight test of SpaceX‘s Starship a ‘success’ despite its explosion to the end.
What Happened: Analyst Sam Korus in Ark’s weekly newsletter noted that though the Starship later got destroyed, it met its primary objective of stage separation without engine failures.
“ARK views the success of this launch as a significant milestone and expects that SpaceX will continue to iterate Starship, much like it did the Falcon 9,” Korus wrote. Falcon 9 is a functional rocket from SpaceX responsible for carrying a whopping majority of its launches to space including taking astronauts to the International Space Station.
Envisioning a time when the Starship is wholly functional, Korus noted that Starship will likely play a ‘critical role’ in Starlink’s constellation expansion to over 40,000 satellites in the future. Starship will have to launch every three and a half days to achieve this though, Korus noted, while adding that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is already launching once every four days on average.
“Based on its launch cadence alone, SpaceX is moving along a learning curve that should drive costs down dramatically, giving it a unique competitive advantage in the industry,” Korus added.
Why It Matters: Starship lifted off for the second time on Saturday.
The vehicle lifted off and made it successfully through stage separation. The booster exploded soon after, and the spacecraft eventually lost contact with SpaceX after climbing to an altitude of nearly 150 kilometers. It ultimately failed to complete the test launch’s final aim of a flight to and back from space with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Though the Federal Aviation Administration has deemed the test flight a ‘mishap’ and others have noted it as a ‘failure,’ SpaceX and its CEO Elon Musk, like Korus, deem it successful.
“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 multiplanetary,” the company said afterward.
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