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SpaceX launches starship in Crashland, the best test flight

Starship seems to have achieved or at least approached its goal. There was no immediate word from SpaceX about how high it was.

A full-scale stainless steel model (160 feet (50 meters) high and 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter) soared over the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately five minutes later, it turned sideways as planned and fell freely back to the southeastern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. The Raptor engine reignited to brake and the rocket stood upright and leaned back. However, upon landing, the rocket ship was engulfed in flames and burst, scattering parts.

Even by SpaceX standards, the entire flight became dramatic and flashy, lasting 6 minutes and 42 seconds. SpaceX broadcasts a sunset demo live on its website. Repeated delays over the past week and engine interruptions in the last second of Tuesday heightened excitement among space fans.

Musk called it a “successful climb” and said the body flaps accurately guided the rocket to the landing site. However, when the engine reignited for ground contact, the fuel tank pressure was low and the starship descended too quickly.

“But I got all the data I needed!” He tweeted.

Musk kept expectations low and warned earlier this week that there was “probably” one-third chance of full success.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the founder of the Blue Origin Rocket Company, offered a quick congratulations.

“Anyone who knows how difficult this is can be impressed with today’s starship test.”

Two lower and shorter SpaceX test flights earlier this year from Bocachica, Texas, a quiet coastal village before SpaceX moved in, used a more basic version of Starship. These early vehicles, which are essentially cylindrical cans and a single Raptor engine, reached altitudes of 490 feet (150 meters). An even earlier model, the short, crouched star hopper, made a small tethered hop in 2019, followed by two ever-increasing rises.

In tests on Wednesday, SpaceX’s latest space station supply to NASA continued for three days, with the company’s second astronaut flying from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in less than a month.

Starship is actually the upper tier of the Moon and Mars ships that Musk envisions. It will be launched on a mega booster under development known as Super Heavy. The entire vehicle rises 394 feet (120 meters) -31 feet (9.4 meters) higher than NASA’s Saturn V rocket, which threw a man on the moon half a century ago.

SpaceX will not only deliver people and cargo to the Moon and Mars, but will also use Starship to orbit giant satellites around the Earth. Earlier this year, SpaceX was one of three prime contractors selected by NASA to develop a lunar module capable of carrying astronauts on the moon by 2024.

Shortly before its launch on Wednesday, NASA introduced 18 US astronauts to train for the Artemis lunar landing program.

While winning an award in Berlin last week, Musk said he was “extremely confident” in his manned flight to Mars six years later. “If you’re lucky, it might be four years.” But Musk was the first to admit that his timeline could be overly optimistic.

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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SpaceX launches starship in Crashland, the best test flight

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