spaceSpace and Physics

Video Shows SpaceX’s Starship Wreck A Car With Debris Shower

RIP this minivan.


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Starship test flight

Starship waiting for its time to shine on April 15. Image credit: Official SpaceX Photos via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

SpaceX launched the largest rocket ever built into space yesterday with record-breaking thrust (before spectacularly blowing up). While the historic launch was heralded as a success, it wasn’t a good day for someone’s car.

A remotely operated camera from a parking lot near the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, shows a flurry of debris spraying out from the rocket, showering one poor soul’s vehicle in dust and rocks. 


The inaugural flight of SpaceX's Starship – the tallest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built – blasted off on April 20. Unfortunately, they were forced to destroy the rocket just before the 4-minute mark of its launch, sending the rocket into what SpaceX called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” In other words, it exploded

Nevertheless, SpaceX declared the test flight a success, arguing they simply wanted to see whether the giant rocket could take flight.

"The vehicle experienced multiple engines out during the flight test, lost altitude and began to tumble. The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and ship," SpaceX wrote in an update.


"As is standard procedure, the pad and surrounding area was cleared well in advance of the test, and we expect the road and beach near the pad to remain closed until tomorrow.”

It looks like the nearby parking lot wasn’t the only victim of the debris shower. People in the nearby city of Port Isabel also reported a wave of dust covering their homes. Some reporters even speculated the debris might impact the migration path of seabirds and other wildlife habitats. 

"Getting reports from multiple people now of 'particulates' raining down in areas of Port Isabel after the nearby explosion of the SpaceX rocket stack Starship/Superheavy," tweeted Pablo De La Rosa, a journalist at TPR and NPR. 


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