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NASA and AIAA Praise SpaceX's First Starship Launch Despite Explosion

On April 20, SpaceX's Starship SN15 prototype took off for its first high-altitude flight test from the company's Boca Chica, Texas facility. The flight was watched closely by space enthusiasts and NASA, as the agency has selected Starship for its upcoming Artemis 3 mission, which aims to put humans back on the moon by 2025. Although the test flight ended in an explosion, NASA and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) praised the mission as an important step forward in space exploration.

NASA Hails Starship's Success

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Jim Free, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development, both praised the Starship SN15 launch on Twitter. Nelson congratulated SpaceX and highlighted the calculated risks that come with any great achievement, writing, "Looking forward to all that SpaceX learns, to the next flight test — and beyond." Free expressed his enthusiasm for the future of the Artemis program, saying that Starship will help move the agency toward a crewed landing on the moon.

AIAA Recognizes SpaceX's Bold Steps

The AIAA, a professional society for aerospace engineers, issued a statement congratulating SpaceX on the Starship SN15 launch. Executive Director Dan Dumbacher commended SpaceX's work to advance spaceflight, saying that "much will be learned from the engineering data" collected during the test. Dumbacher also recognized the countless industry professionals who helped design and build Starship, applauding AIAA Corporate Member SpaceX for shaping the future of aerospace.

Despite Explosion, SpaceX Touts Success

Although the Starship SN15 prototype exploded upon landing, SpaceX still considers the launch a success. The company noted that the fact that the vehicle cleared its launch tower and survived Max-Q, the point at which a vehicle experiences the highest level of stress during a flight, marks a significant milestone in the development of the spacecraft. SpaceX wrote on Twitter that "with a test like this, success comes from what we learn," and the company is committed to making Starship reliable and helping humans become a multi-planetary species.


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