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Cover image for SpaceX Starship Nails Dramatic Test Flight 4, Landing Both Stages
Kpoppr Staff
Kpoppr Staff

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SpaceX Starship Nails Dramatic Test Flight 4, Landing Both Stages

Boca Chica, Texas - SpaceX successfully completed the fourth test flight of its Starship rocket on Thursday, marking a significant milestone in the company's quest for full reusability. The nearly 400-foot-tall Starship launched from SpaceX's Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, at 7:50 a.m. local time, despite one of the 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy booster failing to ignite.

The primary objectives of this mission were to execute a controlled splashdown of the Super Heavy booster in the Gulf of Mexico and to achieve a controlled reentry of the Starship upper stage in the Indian Ocean. Both objectives were successfully met, drawing enthusiastic reactions from SpaceX fans from around the world on X.

Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, expressed his excitement on X, writing, "Successful soft landing of the Starship Super Heavy rocket booster!"

To test the vehicle's thermal protection system, SpaceX placed a single thin heatshield tile and removed two tiles from Starship to measure temperatures in those areas. The data gathered from these experiments will inform future enhancements to the spacecraft's heat shielding technology.

Despite suffering damage to one of its flaps during descent, the Starship spacecraft managed to execute its landing burn and performed a controlled splashdown in the Indian Ocean. "Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!" Musk noted on Twitter. SpaceX also had intentionally placed one thin heatshield tile and removed two tiles completely from the Ship to measure how hot things get without tiles in those locations.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell also extended her congratulations, noting the successful launch, landing, and reentry, and expressing her excitement for future flights.

Starship is a two-stage super heavy-lift launch vehicle designed to significantly reduce launch costs by reusing both stages. The Super Heavy booster, equipped with 33 Raptor engines, uses its engines to slow down and is designed to be caught by mechanical arms attached to the launch tower after boosting the spacecraft. The Starship spacecraft reenters the atmosphere after completing its mission, performing a 'belly flop' maneuver before slowing to a hover with its engines for a soft landing. Reusability is key to SpaceX's vision of making space travel more economical and sustainable.

The successful completion of Starship's fourth test flight marks a significant step forward in SpaceX's journey towards developing a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. With each test, SpaceX gains valuable data and insights that will inform future design and operational improvements, bringing us closer to a future where space travel is routine and accessible.

As SpaceX continues to push the boundaries of space exploration, the world watches with anticipation, eager to see what the future holds for Starship and the possibilities it opens up for humanity's expansion into the cosmos.

And who knows, maybe one day, we'll see a K-pop group like Starship performing their hit songs on Mars. Now wouldn't that be out of this world?

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