SpaceX’s Starship SN10 became the first Starship prototype
to successfully lift off, flip itself, and land.
The vessel, however, exploded shortly after landing.
I get it, I really do. Earlier versions crashed, well, earlier. Like, say, before flipping. Or before landing, as opposed to after.
Starship SN10 landed in one piece!
– Elon Musk
Yes, the same Elon Musk whose after-action report on the SpaceX starship that became a fireball on landing was that “the ascent phase was a success.”
Starship SN10’s post landing demise is unfortunate
but still, everyone at SpaceX
can chalk today’s flight test up as a huge success.
– Jack Beyer, NASA
So, yes, this really is better. An improvement. Progress. But here’s the NASA photo of this better improved progress and huge success.
It’s hard to think of any activity more susceptible to failing spectacularly in public than rocket launches, unless it’s rocket landings. That puts some special demands on the people who participate in it. They must be relentlessly upbeat, looking for and finding the one kernel of success in a corn crib full of cobs of failure. They must not know the meaning of “discouraged.” They must have no quit in their natures.
As someone who has given up on the guitar, clarinet, tennis, golf, cross-stitch, French, woodworking, tap dance, tai chi, and bread-making, I am not qualified to judge the reasonableness of people who won’t give up. Who persevere, cheerily, even through fiery setbacks. Who see only progress.
But even as I smile at the single-minded enthusiasm of their public statements, I know one thing for sure. Of the two kinds of people — them or me — I know which kind is going to be responsible for commercializing space travel in my lifetime.