Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

SpaceX has issued details of the company’s Starship Flight #4.

Lifting off on June 6 from Starbase in Texas, Starship “went on to deliver maximum excitement,” explains the posting, “attempting to go farther than any previous test before and begin demonstrating capabilities central to return and reuse of Starship and Super Heavy.”

“The payload for this test was the data,” explains SpaceX.

One engine out. Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

What was accomplished?

Here are the performance stats:

  • The Super Heavy booster lifted off successfully and completed a full-duration ascent burn.
  • Starship executed another successful hot-stage separation, powering down all but three of Super Heavy’s Raptor engines and successfully igniting the six second stage Raptor engines before separating the vehicles.
  • Following separation, the Super Heavy booster successfully completed its flip maneuver, boostback burn to send it towards the splashdown zone, and jettison of the hot-stage adapter.
  • The booster’s flight ended with a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico seven minutes and 24 seconds into the flight.

Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Controlled reentry

— Starship’s six second stage Raptor engines successfully powered the vehicle to space and placed it on the planned trajectory for coast.

— Starship made a controlled reentry, successfully making it through the phases of peak heating and max aerodynamic pressure and demonstrating the ability to control the vehicle using its flaps while descending through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.

— Starlink on Starship once again enabled real-time telemetry and live high-definition video throughout every phase of entry, with external cameras providing views all the way to the flight’s conclusion.

— Flight 4 ended with Starship igniting its three center Raptor engines and executing the first flip maneuver and landing burn since our suborbital campaign, followed by a soft splashdown of the ship in the Indian Ocean one hour and six minutes after launch.

Major strides

In summary form, SpaceX explains that the fourth flight of Starship “made major strides to bring us closer to a rapidly reusable future.”

Data accumulated by the flight will drive improvements to develop Starship into a fully reusable transportation system “designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond,” SpaceX concludes.

Go to SpaceX Starship Flight Test #4 video at:

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