SpaceX Successfully Launches Starship Rocket

Flight 4 liftoff from Starbase, June 6, 2024. Photo: X/ @SpaceX

June 7, 2024 Hour: 12:23 pm

The spacecraft and its rocket represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit.

On Thursday, SpaceX launched its Starship rocket on the fourth test flight from its facility called Starbase in southern Texas. The rocket, lifted off at about 7:50 a.m. local time near Boca Chica Village, has completed the test flight for the first time, returning to the Earth and splashing down in the Indian Ocean.


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Minutes after liftoff, SpaceX confirmed Starship’s Raptor engines have ignited during hot-staging separation. The first-stage booster, known as Super Heavy, executed the flip maneuver and boostback burn. Super Heavy has splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Starship coasted in space, and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. About 1 hour and 5 minutes after launch, SpaceX confirmed Starship’s splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk congratulated SpaceX team on the achievement. “Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!” Musk said on X.

Flight 4 flied similar trajectory as the previous flight test, according to SpaceX. The company’s three previous attempts resulted in destruction of the rockets before the flights were completed.

The third flight test made tremendous strides towards a future of rapidly reliable reusable rockets. The test completed several exciting firsts, including the first Starship reentry from space, the first ever opening and closing of Starship’s payload door in space, and a successful propellant transfer demonstration.

The fourth flight test’s focus ranged from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy. The primary objectives were executing a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster, and achieving a controlled entry of Starship.

The SpaceX team will also implement operational changes, including the jettison of the Super Heavy’s hot-stage following boostback to reduce booster mass for the final phase of flight.

SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket, collectively referred to as Starship, represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Source: Xinhua

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