SpaceX Starship successfully completes launch and re-entry tests in 3rd attempt: Watch

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SpaceX’s Starship has successfully completed its third-ever test flight, marking a significant milestone in the company’s ambitious space exploration efforts. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced earlier today that it had granted a launch license for the mission after determining that SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, and financial responsibility requirements.

The 400-foot-tall Starship, touted as the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built, lifted off as scheduled from SpaceX’s Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas. The launch took place within a 110-minute window that opened at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 p.m IST). Starship was however launched with a minor delay at 9:25 a.m. ET.

Designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, Starship represents a breakthrough in space technology according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who envisions it facilitating human settlement on the moon and Mars.

This successful test flight follows two previous flights in April and November of the previous year. While the April flight encountered issues with stage separation and ended prematurely, the November flight saw improvements but ended with both stages exploding in the sky.

Thursday’s flight aimed to build upon lessons learned from previous tests while attempting ambitious objectives. These included the successful ascent burn of both stages, operation of Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first-ever re-light of a Raptor engine in space, and a controlled re-entry of Starship.

Notably, this test launch aimed to bring Starship’s upper stage down in the Indian Ocean, in contrast to the previous two missions which targeted the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. However, during the entry period, Starship broke apart and failed a soft water touchdown. The camera that was on Starship stopped sending signals after T+50.  



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