SpaceX's Starship Achieves Space, Hits New Milestones, Despite Reentry Loss

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 14, 2024 - 02:50 PM

Update (1050ET): 

Starship, the world's largest rocket, blasted off from southern Texas at 0925 ET. The spacecraft separated from its booster and coasted around the planet in space. However, during reentry, with an anticipated splashdown in the Indian Ocean, the signal with the spacecraft was lost. 

Moments ago, SpaceX's Dan Huot said, "We are making the call now that we have lost (the) ship."

Huot continued: "No splashdown today, but again just it's incredible to see how much further we got this time around." 

Musk posted on X, "Starship will make life multi-planetary." 

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Update (1025ET): 

Starship's signal has been lost on the reentry phrase. 

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Update (1012ET): 

The reentry of Starship has begun

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Update (0945ET):

Starship's payload door successfully opened, paving the way for the rocket to deploy satellites.  

Musk on X noted, "Starship reached orbital velocity!" 

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Update (0938ET):

The upper-stage rocket engines have finished their burn successfully. Starship is gliding through space, following a path to splash down in the Indian Ocean. 

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Update (0931ET):

The massive Super Heavy booster stage has detached from the Starship's upper stage, now en route to space. The flight appears to be progressing well.

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Update (0925ET):

SpaceX's 400-foot-tall Starship has lifted off from SpaceX's launch site in Boca Chica Village, Texas.

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On Wednesday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration granted SpaceX a "license authorization" for the third launch of the most massive rocket ever, Starship. 

"The FAA has granted license authorization for the third launch of the @SpaceX Starship Super Heavy vehicle. The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, and financial responsibility requirements," the FAA wrote in a post on X. 

Around 0300 ET, Elon Musk said: "Starship launch attempt in ~5 hours." 

SpaceX says that a 110-minute launch window will open at 0800 ET. Starship was stacked last week at the SpaceX's Starbase launch facility in southern Texas near Brownsville. 

For this third launch, SpaceX will build on what it has learned from the previous two launches and attempt a splashdown in the Indian Ocean. 

The third flight test aims to build on what we've learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship's payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage's coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. It will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety. -SpaceX 

Flight trajectory map