“The debris is really just basically sand and rock, so it’s not toxic at all or anything…It’s just like a sandstorm, essentially. Basically a human-made sandstorm. But we don’t want to do that again.”
–Statement by SpaceX’s Elon Musk last Saturday regarding the April 20th launch of the Starship and the debris it scattered for miles around the launch site. Mr. Musk now says he should have waited until a “flame trench” water system had been installed to absorb the heat from the launch. Instead, the launch acted like a blowtorch on the concrete, destroying the pad and flinging debris as far as 6.5 miles from the launch site. Mr. Musk has many new ideas, such as reusable rockets, that make a lot of sense. But ignoring the knowledge gained from past missions, such as the need for a flame trench, was not very smart on his part.