TechElon Musk's SpaceX prepares for starship's critical fourth test

Elon Musk's SpaceX prepares for starship's critical fourth test

Starship module test
Starship module test
Images source: © Licensor

8:38 AM EDT, May 22, 2024

According to Elon Musk, the founder and owner of SpaceX, the company behind this impressive machine, we are just two weeks away from the fourth test flight of the Starship rocket.

SpaceX, known for its innovation and for pushing the boundaries of possibility, aims to overcome the critical phase where the spacecraft heats up the most during its return to Earth. This phase is exceptionally challenging because re-entry is one of the most dangerous moments of the flight; the vehicle is exposed to massive forces and heats up to extremely high temperatures simultaneously.

Starship - fourth test flight soon

During the last test flight on March 14th, the Starship rocket reached and exceeded the conventional boundary of outer space. It carried out a series of pre-planned tasks, including opening the cargo bay. However, it was ultimately destroyed during its return to Earth.

SpaceX conducted a wet-dress rehearsal of the rocket to prepare for the upcoming test. This involves filling the tanks with fuel, liquid methane, and an oxidizer, liquid oxygen. The company stated on the X platform that the test before the fourth launch was complete.

The Starship rocket is the largest in the history of spaceflight. Its first stage is an impressive 230 feet tall and is powered by 33 Raptor engines, generating twice the power of the engines used in the Apollo program's Saturn V rocket.

The rocket's second stage, designed for spaceflight, is 164 feet tall and powered by six Raptor engines, three of which are used for maneuvering in space. The Starship can carry up to 331,000 pounds of payload to low Earth orbit, more than seven times the payload capacity of the Ariane rocket.

Like other SpaceX rockets, the Starship rocket's most essential feature is its reusability. Additionally, the rocket can launch and land in various locations, such as the SpaceX spaceport, the John F. Kennedy Space Center, and unique ocean-based floating platforms.

According to many experts, the Starship rocket has the potential to revolutionize access to orbit and pave the way for further space exploration.

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