A UK-based space tourism startup by the name of Stellar Frontiers has claimed to connect future private astronauts with commercial spaceflight companies. It is doing so by using a photo of an exploding Northrop Grumman Antares rocket on its website. To make matters even questionable, the image is mislabeled as SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, which in reality hasn’t even made it to orbit yet.
“If I’m going to choose my own space adventure, it won’t involve an exploding Antares rocket,” tweeted SpaceNews senior writer Jeff Foust, who first noticed the faux pas.
“Also, be wary of space tourism companies who think that exploding rocket is SpaceX’s Starship,” he added. “After all, there are plenty of images of actual Starships exploding.”
It’s quite funny how this looks but seems concerning for potential space tourists. This is because space travel is a huge task and if a company is so careless with something as simple as this, will it be meticulous with sending the right rocket through the right way?
The image is placed on Stellar Frontiers’ website next to a blurb about SpaceX’s Starship, and it shows NASA attempting to launch supplies to the International Space Station using an Antares rocket from a launch complex in Virginia on October 28, 2014. Seconds after launch the rocket exploded, wiping out its precious cargo.
SpaceX has had its own fair share of launch failures while developing the spacecraft over the last couple of years. Several launch attempts have met a dark fate by ending up in massive fireballs engulfing the entire launch pad.
Images of these launch failures can easily be found online which was probably where the employees at Stellar Frontiers got the picture from.
“You gotta admit, the Antares explosion was probably the most visually beautiful rocket explosion of all time,” one quipped. “Truly a classic.”