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the world’s largest, most powerful rocket reaches orbit

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the world's largest, most powerful rocket reaches orbit

It was third time’s a charm today as SpaceX’s Starship roared into orbit from the company’s Starbase near Boca Chica, Texas. Larger and more powerful than the venerable Saturn V, the giant rocket lifted off into the history books at 8:25 am CDT.

Starship may have been the premiere project of SpaceX and a key component of NASA’s Artemis Moon program, but it was also the butt of many jokes and the target for skepticism. This isn’t surprising, given the tendency of the Starship prototypes to blow up – including on the last two test flights.

That changed today as the two-stage Starship rose from the launch pad on the thrust of 33 engines generating over twice the thrust of the Saturn V, making Starship the largest and most powerful flying object ever made.

The flight took place under good weather and without holds, with the maximum dynamic pressure reached at the 52-second mark into the flight. Unlike more conventional rockets where the first stage shuts down and the second stage separates, at the two-minute 42-second mark all but the core engines of the Falcon Super Heavy first stage shut down and the second stage ignited while still attached, in a maneuver known as “hot staging.”

After stage separation two seconds later, the first stage carried out a controlled engine burn to return to the Gulf of Mexico for a soft splashdown. Meanwhile, the second stage, called Starship or “the Ship” continued its engine burn until it achieved orbital velocity.

During the flight, Mission Control conducted a number of tests, including pumping cryogenic propellants from one tank to another as part of an effort to develop methods of refueling spacecraft for projected Moon missions. In addition, the payload bay doors were opened and closed in anticipation of the day when Starship will carry cargo and even passengers.

Starship over the Indian Ocean

SpaceX

Restarting a Raptor engine was scheduled, but wasn’t carried out because the spacecraft’s trajectory needed no corrections.

Communications were lost with Starship during reentry and before it reached its planned splashdown site in the Indian Ocean, about 65 minutes after launch.

Source: SpaceX



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