Hamilton offered to fly Musk’s rocket to the moon before it blew up
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F1 star Lewis Hamilton offered to pilot Elon Musk’s rocket to space, before the Twitter owner’s enterprise spectacularly exploded just minutes after taking off last week. As one of Musk’s other companies SpaceX stepped up their attempts to fly to Mars by launching the largest and most powerful rocket from Texas, it lasted four minutes before exploding during the test flight.
No passengers were on board, as Musk congratulated the team on the launch as SpaceX believes that explosions help the company learn what can go wrong – as they look to make strides towards a human trip to Mars. Two sections of the rocket system – the booster and cruise vessel – were unable to separate properly after takeoff, potentially causing the spacecraft to fail.
Many keen observers will have kept an eye on the spacecraft, including Mercedes driver Hamilton as he has opened up about his ambitions to fly to space one day. The 38-year-old recently hosted Musk in the US but admitted he was “nervous” talking to the entrepreneur – though did offer to operate a rocket into space.
“Elon’s been to my party in Austin the last two years,” said Hamilton during the Australian Grand Prix weekend. “It’s like a dinner party I’ve had, and I’d have these people come around.
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“It’s not the easiest thing to speak to someone like that, because his mind is expanded, it’s on such another level, you know, so I get all nervous when I’m talking to him. Of course, I talked to him about did we land on the Moon? Where are we going next?
“I am going, yes, at some stage, but I’ll let some other people go first because those things blow up on the way up… He’s talking about going to Mars, but I’m ready to go to space at any stage. I told him that I’d fly the ship, but I think it’s all automated!”
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Hamilton may opt to wait until further testing has taken place before hopping aboard Musk’s aircraft, despite further attempts by SpaceX to travel to space. “As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation,” the company said in a statement on Twitter, referring to the explosion.
SpaceX claims that Starship will be able to transport dozens of people on long-haul interplanetary flights. It already has a privately funded trip for 11 people around the moon scheduled for this year, but whether they will be able to make that deadline remains to be seen.
NASA has also contracted SpaceX to place astronauts, including the first woman in Christina Koch, on the moon as soon as 2025 as part of its Artemis programme.
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