In the 4th test, the spaceship splashes down for the first time

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SpaceX’s Starship, the largest and most powerful spacecraft to ever be sent to space, completed a fourth test flight Thursday, splashing down in the Indian Ocean successfully for the first time since it started conducting test flights last year.
Here’s what happened in all four of the Starship’s test launches so far, which illustrates SpaceX’s progressive improvement since its inaugural test in April 2023.
June 6, 2024: Starship completes first-ever successful landing burn in fourth test flight The Starship had its most successful test run the fourth time around, lifting off from SpaceX’s private Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas at 8:50 a.m.
Roughly one hour and six minutes into the flight, Starship completed its first-ever landing burn and splashed down into the Indian Ocean to raucous applause.
Nov. 18, 2023: Starship makes it further in second test flight, but still explodes During the second launch test of the Starship, the rocket survived for longer and achieved some milestones, but it still eventually exploded.
“The real topping on the cake today, that successful liftoff,” SpaceX commentator John Insprucker said after the November test, as reported by the Associated Press.
Insprucker noted that for the first time, all 33 booster engines fired as designed and the booster separated seamlessly from the spaceship, which reached an altitude of 92 miles.
April 20, 2023: Starship explodes minutes after launch in inaugural test flight The Starship got off to a rough start when it exploded just four minutes into its inaugural test flight on April 20.

POSITIVE

The biggest and most potent spacecraft ever launched into orbit, SpaceX’s Starship, successfully landed in the Indian Ocean on Thursday after completing its fourth test flight. This was the spacecraft’s first successful splashdown since it began testing last year. The first three tests of the rocket resulted in explosions.

As a super heavy-lift launch vehicle, the unmanned craft is categorized and aims to transport astronauts back and forth between Earth, the moon, and even Mars.

NASA is pleased with SpaceX’s test on Thursday, as the agency granted the company a $2.09 billion contract in 2021 to build the first commercial human lander for NASA’s Artemis III lunar mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2026.

This represents SpaceX’s steady progress since the Starship’s first test in April 2023 and what transpired in each of the Starship’s four test launches thus far.

In the fourth test flight, on June 6, 2024, Starship successfully completes its first-ever landing burn.

On the fourth attempt, the Starship underwent its most successful test flight, taking off at 8:50 a.m. from SpaceX’s exclusive Starbase location in Boca Chica, Texas. m. Thursday am ET.

About seven minutes into the flight, the craft successfully separated from the booster, and 32 of the 33 engines ignited as planned.

All six of Starship’s engines propelled the spacecraft into a successful orbital insertion after the booster safely returned to Earth and splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico as scheduled.

Despite some damage to the heat shields on the exterior of the craft—at least one of them threw debris into one of the external cameras used for live streaming—the craft made a successful reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

After completing its first-ever landing burn, Starship splashed down into the Indian Ocean to thunderous cheers approximately one hour and six minutes into the journey.

March 14, 2024: On its third test flight, a starship enters space before perishing in the atmosphere.

After successfully detaching from the booster and entering orbit a few minutes after launch, the Starship carried out a number of in-flight tests while coasting through space in the third test.

The spacecraft began its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere at the beginning of the video of its flight that was beam back to Earth using SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite network. But before SpaceX could conclude that the craft most likely broke apart, the signal was lost approximately an hour into the mission.

SpaceX reported that although Starship did not make its intended splashdown in the Indian Ocean, it did accomplish a number of significant firsts, such as firing all 33 of its Raptor engines in the booster and opening a payload door.

An optimistic development, according to a NASA administrator, was the test. Manager of Communications for SpaceX Dan Huot, who assisted in hosting the live webcast, said, “I’m just completely blown away.”. “We’ve never traveled this far before. “.

Nov. 18, 2023: The starship reaches a second test flight, but it still blows up.

Even though the rocket in the Starship’s second launch test lived longer and accomplished some significant milestones, it ultimately exploded.

The rocket reached space before the ground crew lost contact with it nine minutes after the booster successfully separated from the vehicle. After two explosions that occurred three minutes later, SpaceX lost both the booster and the spacecraft.

SpaceX expressed optimism about the stage separation rather than viewing it as a setback, stating that the remaining data would only be useful information to help them fix whatever went wrong.

According to the Associated Press, SpaceX commentator John Insprucker declared following the test in November, “The real topping on the cake today, that successful liftoff.”. The booster separated from the spaceship with ease, reaching a height of 92 miles, according to Insprucker, who also reported that all 33 booster engines fired as intended for the first time.

April 20, 2023: During its first test flight, the Starship explodes minutes after takeoff.

On April 20, just four minutes into its first test flight, the Starship exploded, giving its debut a dramatic start.

The craft was able to launch at SpaceX’s exclusive Starbase location, but before the booster and spacecraft could even split apart, telemetry data showed that multiple engine failures had occurred.

Later, SpaceX confirmed that the rocket’s flight termination system had been turned on in order to destroy the falling craft before it was destroyed by fire.

For USA TODAY, Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news. Use elagatta@gannett.com to get in touch with him.

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