Home SpaceX completes third test launch of Starship, the spaceship longer than a football field

SpaceX completes third test launch of Starship, the spaceship longer than a football field

The third test launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship saw the massive craft successfully reach a suborbital coast before plunging down harmlessly into the Indian Ocean.

Starship is a behemoth with 33 engines, weighing over 5000 tons. According to Elon Musk, this makes it the heaviest flying object ever made. For context, that’s around half the weight of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The first two test launches resulted in the ship exploding shortly after launch, but this time, the rocket successfully made it into orbit. The test, this time, was designed to show the opening and closing of the payload doors and to reignite its engines in space.

“This flight pretty much just started, but we’re farther than we’ve ever been before,” SpaceX spokesperson Dan Huot said in a livestream. “We’ve got a starship, not just in space, but on its coast phase into space.”

Even though the rocket was ultimately not recovered and the test wasn’t perfect, it was still a much more successful test than the previous two.

What went wrong, and what went right?

The Super Heavy booster correctly separated from the main ship around 2 minutes 45 seconds after liftoff but did not manage to reignite, resulting in the loss of the booster.

“It didn’t light all the engines that we expected and we did lose the booster,” Huot said. “We’ll have to go through the data to figure out exactly what happened, obviously.”

Starship, however, completed its systems test with the engine reignition and the payload doors. Unfortunately, SpaceX lost contact with the ship before reentry, resulting in them declaring Ship 28 lost.

“We are making the call now that we have lost Ship 28,” Huot said sometime after they lost contact, “We haven’t heard from the ship up until this point, and so the team has made the call that Ship has been lost. So, no splashdown today.”

Although there are still clearly kinks to be worked out, successfully reaching sub-orbit and completing vital systems tests shows that progress is being made towards the eventual goal of Starship being a reusable craft ready to fly passengers to the moon and beyond. This builds on their success with satellite launches earlier this year and paves the way for further testing.

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Ali Rees
Tech journalist

Ali Rees is a freelance writer based in the UK. They have worked as a data and analytics consultant, a software tester, and a digital marketing and SEO specialist. They have been a keen gamer and tech enthusiast since their childhood in are currently the Gaming and Tech editor at Brig Newspaper. They also have a Substack where they review short video games. During the pandemic, Ali turned their hand to live streaming and is a fan of Twitch. When not writing, Ali enjoys playing video and board games, live music, and reading. They have two cats and both of…

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