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Launch date set for Starship #4

June 5, 2024

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will attempt the fourth test flight of its massive Starship rocket on June 6th.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its permission for the flight on June 4th. The FAA authorisation was modified from previous Starship flights, and the end result is that future launches will find an easier route to flight.

The flight’s 2-hour launch window opens at 0700 (Texas, Central time) from SpaceX’s Boca Chica ‘Starbase’ launch site.

“The fourth flight test turns our focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy. The primary objectives will be executing a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster, and achieving a controlled entry of Starship,” said SpaceX. “To accomplish this, several software and hardware upgrades have been made to increase overall reliability and address lessons learned from Flight 3. The SpaceX team will also implement operational changes, including the jettison of the Super Heavy’s hot-stage following boostback to reduce booster mass for the final phase of flight.”

“Flight #4 will fly a similar trajectory as the previous flight test, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This flight path does not require a deorbit burn for reentry, maximising public safety while still providing the opportunity to meet our primary objective of a controlled Starship reentry,” added the note from SpaceX.

“The fourth flight of Starship will aim 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,” SpaceX concluded.

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