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SpaceX's spacecraft may make its fourth test flight

SpaceX's spacecraft may make its fourth test flight

June 5, 2024 – 10:37 am

Permission has been granted for the fourth test flight of SpaceX's massive moon rocket, Starship, CNN reports. The rocket is expected to lift off on Thursday in a 120-minute launch window that opens at 8 a.m. SpaceX will stream the test flight live on its website. The rocket will be launched from SpaceX's private Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

According to the FAA, SpaceX has identified three scenarios that would not require an investigation if the rocket was lost: They include heat shield failure, loss of control of the rocket during flight, and engine failure during landing. “If an anomaly other than this occurs in the spacecraft, an investigation may be warranted, as well as if an anomaly occurs in the very heavy propulsion rocket,” the agency said in a statement.

SpaceX hopes the 120-meter-long spacecraft will play a pioneering role in spaceflight. SpaceX, through its Artemis 3 space rocket program, will send people first to the Moon and then to Mars. The capacity of the spaceship, which can be used multiple times, is designed to accommodate one hundred people.

According to plans, the spacecraft will be able to deliver 150 tons of cargo into outer space. By comparison, SpaceX's Falcon rocket can deliver just over 22 tons of payload to low Earth orbit.

Each Starship test flight has a different goal, based on lessons learned and accomplishments from previous flights. During the first test flight last April, the largest and most powerful space rocket in the world exploded a few minutes after its launch. In November, eight minutes after launch, communication with the spacecraft was lost. Last time, almost the entire test was completed, and the missile reached an altitude of 245 kilometers, and communication with it was lost approximately an hour after launch, when it returned to the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

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