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Starship Completes Wet Dress Rehearsal Ahead Fourth Test Flight

Starship wet dress rehearsal. Credit: SpaceX

Ibadan, 23 May 2024. – SpaceX has completed the wet dress rehearsal in preparation for the Starship rocket’s fourth test flight which is coming up in two weeks. The Company conducted the test at its Starbase site in South Texas on May 20, filling both of the vehicle’s stages with cold liquid oxygen and liquid methane. According to SpaceX boss Elon Musk, the fourth flight test’s primary goal is to get “through max reentry heating”.

The fourth Starship flight test comes after a relatively successful third flight test where SpaceX launched the rocket into orbit for the first time with the rocket eventually succumbing and disintegrating in Earth’s upper atmosphere during reentry. Mission control also lost communications with the rocket during the third flight test as it aimed for a planned splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

Despite the disintegration during the third flight test, SpaceX was able to complete some of its mission objectives including a repeat of successful stage separation during initial ascent, the first test of Starship’s ability to open and close its payload door in orbit, and the transfer of super-cooled rocket propellant from one tank to another during spaceflight. However, SpaceX skipped the engine re-ignition test before failing to fly the Super Heavy rocket back to Earth.

Starship’s first and second flight tests didn’t do as well with both test flights ending explosively as the vehicles exploded before completing each flight’s mission objectives. During the first test, the rocket’s two stages failed to separate, causing SpaceX to detonate the vehicle intentionally four minutes after launch. However, Starship achieved stage separation on the second test, which also lasted twice as long, but the first stage booster exploded in a fireball over the Gulf of Mexico after separating from its core Starship stage.

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