Before the April 20th launch of SpaceX’s new ‘Starship’ rocket, boss Elon Musk stated that he “would consider anything that does not result in the destruction of the launch mount itself … to be a win.” 

Well, Starship lifted off successfully, soaring into the sky for about four minutes before multiple engines malfunctioned and a separation failure triggered the rocket’s self-destruct mechanism. As for the launch mount, well, it has seen better days.

According to Olivier de Weck, a professor of astronautics and engineering at MIT, the launch pad crater "will take several months" to repair. "The main damage to the launch pad is underneath, where the flames impinge on the ground," he said. “The radius of debris and disturbance was probably bigger than anybody anticipated."

For Starship’s launch, SpaceX used a concrete launch pad without water deluge or flame trenches; systems NASA typically uses to dissipate force on larger rocket launches. Even Elon himself reflected on the use of a concrete pad.

According to a different Tweet, SpaceX was developing a water-cooled, steel plate to go under the concrete, but didn’t have it ready in time for launch. Perhaps Elon’s supposed desire to make an April 20th launch date was too ambitious. It’s a shame that the biggest blaze on 4/20 turned out to be his rocket and its busted launch pad.