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SpaceX Targets June 6 for Starship’s Fourth Flight Test

Starship SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX

Ibadan, 2 June 2024. – SpaceX is targeting 6 June 2024 for Starship’s fourth flight test pending regulatory approvals. The flight test will fly a similar trajectory as the previous flight test, with Starship aiming to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This flight path will not require a deorbit burn for reentry to maximize public safety while still providing SpaceX the opportunity to meet its primary objective of a controlled Starship reentry.

According to Elon Musk, the flight test’s primary goal is to get much deeper into the atmosphere during reentry and through max reentry heating, as well as execute a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster. This consequently shifts SpaceX’s focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy. The Company has also conducted several software and hardware upgrades to the fourth flight test to increase overall reliability and incorporate lessons from the previous flight test.

SpaceX stated, “The fourth flight aims to bring us closer to the rapidly reusable future on the horizon. We’re continuing to rapidly develop Starship, putting flight hardware in a flight environment to learn as quickly as possible as we build a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

This test comes after a relatively successful third flight test where SpaceX launched Starship into orbit for the first time before the rocket succumbed and disintegrated in Earth’s upper atmosphere during reentry. Mission control also lost communications with Starship during the third flight test as it aimed for a planned splashdown in the Indian Ocean. Nevertheless, SpaceX was able to complete some of its mission objectives including a repeat of successful stage separation during initial ascent.

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