SpaceX’s third Starship test launch takes off successfully

SpaceX the third time was hoping the Starship rocket would be the charm as the next test attempt. This third launch went really well, with the Starship launching successfully at 9:25am ET. Shortly after launch, it successfully completed hot stage separation from the Super Heavy Booster and the Starship successfully ignited the second stage Raptor engines. It is currently coasting and the Raptor’s engines are scheduled to be re-ignited approximately 40 minutes after takeoff. The Super Heavy Booster, meanwhile, switched to a semi-controlled descent; her engines did not fully re-ignite as planned before splashdown. When it’s all said and done, we should hear more about what worked and didn’t work in that phase of testing.

Although SpaceX says both the booster and the Starship itself will return to Earth at “terminal velocity,” making their recovery impossible, it appears that the Starship itself did not make it. Based on initial reports, the Starship appears to have disintegrated during re-entry. As with the booster, we should soon hear more about the specifics behind the ship’s ultimate fate.

Before leaving, we saw some dramatic footage of the Starship re-entry:

The previous two attempts failed, though the Starship did reaching space on the second pass. 110 minute launch window for latest attempt opens at 8:00 a.m. ET. A Live broadcast ET covers the launch starting at about 8:50 a.m. and you can watch it on X.

The Federal Aviation Administration cleared SpaceX Starship Super Heavy Orbital Flight Test 3 on Wednesday afternoon. The agency said in a statement to Engadget that Space X “meets all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements.”

FAA grounded the Starship for several weeks before the second test flight, the company took 63 “corrective actions”. First release caused a fire in a state park and a. led to environmental groups claim.

In addition to building on previous tests, SpaceX has some “ambitious” goals for this launch. The company aimed to perform a Raptor engine relight for the first time in space, as well as successfully burn both stages, open and close the cargo door, and perform a controlled reentry. The spacecraft flew on a new trajectory and splashed into the Indian Ocean. SpaceX said the updated flight path gave it a chance to try new things, such as engine burns in space, while prioritizing public safety.

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