Houston Matters

Was the SpaceX rocket launch and explosion a success or a failure?

The unmanned Starship rocket exploded four minutes after takeoff from near Boca Chica in South Texas. 


SpaceX’s Starship launches from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Thursday, April 20, 2023. The giant new rocket exploded minutes after blasting off on it first test flight and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/449721/449746" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

On Thursday morning, reaction was swift on Elon Musk-owned Twitter following his company's latest test launch (and explosion four minutes later) in South Texas.

The unmanned SpaceX Starship rocket went up in flames when it failed to separate from its booster and exploded four minutes after takeoff from near Boca Chica.

The schadenfreude was strong from those on the Twitterverse angry at Musk for, well, a lot of things, but no doubt influenced by what they see as his mishandling of the social media platform.

Lost in the snark, though, was whether the endeavor was really a success or a failure — or perhaps a little bit of both.

That’s something Eric Berger considered in a piece for Ars Technica, where he’s the senior space editor, in addition to founding Space City Weather.

In the audio above, he weighs in on the launch and explains what SpaceX may learn from it.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

More Information