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SpaceX Starship Flight 4 completes all test milestones including reentry and landing

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Starship Test Flight 4 Lifting Off

SpaceX launched Starship Flight 4 and achieved new milestones in this test. This is the first time SpaceX completed all primary objectives including max heat reentry and splashdown of both stages. It’s also the first time SpaceX concluded the entire test mission of the Starship program.

Liftoff

The integrated vehicle lifted off with its 33 Raptor engines burning full power to uplift the launch vehicle from Boca Chica Starbase in Texas.

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Stage Separation

First-stage Super Heavy booster rocket and second-stage Starship spacecraft performed hot-staging and called for separation. This milestone marked the ignition of Starship’s 6 Raptor engines, which led the second stage to orbit.

Jettison

The first stage maneuvered back to earth and performed a hot stage jettison to reduce the weight of the Booster before preparing for a boost backburn.

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First Stage Landing

Super Heavy directed its way back to earth with those grid fins and landed in the Gulf of Mexico with a splashdown. The rocket performed a landing burn before splashing into the sea and it was successful.

Coasting in Space

Starship on the other hand coasted in the orbit for more than 30 minutes before a reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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Reentry and Splashdown

Compared to the third flight, Starship maintained its trajectory and remained stable during reentry phase. Throughout this time, the plasma heat shield performed well and endured the heat for the spacecraft and deflected over.

SpaceX’s Starlink terminal provided a live view of the entire reentry phase. However, one of the flaps picked up fire and started burning due to the reentry heat at about 50 kilometers above the splashdown zone.

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Still, the vehicle managed its trajectory and measured remained distance. It was followed by a flip maneuver and a landing burn which became successful as shown by the on-screen telematics. There are no views available of this phase due to the fire disturbing the camera onboard.

The flight data gathered in this test will help SpaceX to improve the next launch vehicle.

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Mel Trivalo is a senior author at EONMSK.com, he began his early career in electronics in 2021 and turned his attention towards Space and Rocket Science. Mel likes to explore new technologies and swings baseball to run through creative thoughts.

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