After seeing the live stream: https://www.spacex.com/launches/mission/?missionId=starship-flight-test I was curious why the separation failed . The first stage went normally. Then it failed to separate. After that it started to spin and the self destruct signal was sent. What went wrong with the separation?
Separation was never commanded. The vehicle wasn't in a safe position to send Starship on its way.
And it got pretty close to stage separation. So if we had maintained thrust vector control and throttled up, which we should have, because we needed to compensate. We'd lost too many engines, so we should have throttled up the remaining engines to make up for the missing ones. But if we'd throttled up the remaining engines and maintained thrust vector control, we would have made it to staging, which would be cool. So that's our goal for the next flight, is make it to staging and hopefully succeed in staging and get to orbit. So I think we've had a decent shot at getting to orbit with the next flight.
Did the booster command separation, did it actually try letting go of Starship and it just couldn't because of something? Or did it not even get that far in the program?
No, unfortunately it did not get to the point where it would do separation. One could argue that at the point at which the booster is kaput, the ship may as well just take off and keep going. But the problem is that we have a very precise targeted entry point in the Pacific. So the ship really wouldn't have the capability of reaching that target point.
You wouldn't want it re-entering over Africa or something and then just touching down randomly.
Exactly. So it would only be worth really starting the ship if the ship is able to complete its mission and reach its targeted landing point just west of Hawaii.