Musk’s SpaceX Burns Up the Biggest Rocket Ever Made…on 420, Of Course
Starship's first launch sort of went up in smoke.
Published on April 20, 2023

The largest space rocket ever built blazed up on our favorite holiday, 420.

At about 9:30 am ET, Starship blasted off from South Padre Island in Texas. After reaching hypersonic speeds, the rocket flipped around and attemped separation, but then exploded — a few seconds shy of a 4-minute and 20-second flight, at roughly the 4:05 mark.

No injuries were reported.

SpaceX previously attempted to launch Starship on Monday, but a technical issue led to the launch’s postponement to Thursday, April 20, NPR reported. SpaceX designed the rocket to eventually send humans to Mars.

Controversial billionaire pothead Elon Musk, who is also SpaceX’s founder, hasn’t been shy about his support for legal weed and psychedelics. So, it’s not a stretch to presume the 420 launch date was intentional. 

For instance, 420 may have been coded into the Starship rocket itself. Starship features Booster 4 and is numbered Ship 20, which combine to form — yep — 420. 

However, Musk wrote earlier this week that Starship’s supposed 420 symbolism, at least with its numbering, is pure happenstance. 

"Total coincidence!" Musk tweeted at SpaceX fan Austin Barnard, who pointed out the weedy connection. "Also, booster height was originally 70m, but we eliminated a half barrel for manufacturing efficiency, so now it’s…"

It’s 69. 69 meters. The booster is 69 meters, and definitely not because the world’s former richest man has the same humor as a 12-year-old boy.

Dick jokes aside, even if Musk jokingly built 420 references into Starship, it wouldn’t be the first time he cited the number. In 2018, he tweeted a plan to take Tesla private and set the electric vehicle company’s stock price at $420. That “joke” triggered millions in fines from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Also in 2018, Musk smoked a blunt with podcaster Joe Rogan while live on the air. But the stunt led to Tesla’s stock taking a hit, too, as well as NASA imposing a $5 million safety training program on SpaceX employees.

Cover image via

MERRY JANE is based in Los Angeles, California and is dedicated to elevating the discussion around cannabis culture.
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