SpaceX achieved this Thursday, June 6, 2024, a successful launch of its enormous and powerful Starshipfrom Texas, by being able to return both stages of the ship to Earth in a controlled manner, a milestone that had not been met in its first three tests and that paves the way for the United States to return to the Moon and reach Mars.

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Takeoff occurred at around 7:50 local time (12:50 GMT) and the arrival of the Super Heavy booster occurred about six minutes later in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, near Boca Chica, after its separation from the capsule.

Likewise, Elon Musk’s company takes a victory today with the controlled return of the Starship capsule just over an hour after takeoff, which landed in the Indian Ocean.

Landing confirmed! Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting fourth Starship flight test!“, the company noted in its X account.

Musk also applauded today’s test flight on his social network and mentioned the loss of “many” parts and the damage to others.

Today was the fourth test flight of the Starship, the largest and most powerful ship in the world that seeks to reach outer space.

The two initial tests, which were carried out in 2023, did not achieve the objectives set. In the first of them the ship exploded minutes after taking flight, while in the second the two parts did not separate and the controllers activated an emergency system that intentionally caused the rocket to explode.

The company insisted this Thursday that all of these constitute learning flights and highlights that progress has been made in each of them.

In this fourth flight, rather than reaching the planned orbit, which SpaceX took for granted, the goal was “demonstrate the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy“, which includes achieving “a controlled entry” of the ship.

In the attempt last March, the spacecraft managed to reach the limits of the Earth’s atmosphere, but was unable to successfully complete its descent from a height of 160 kilometers and at a speed of 26,000 kilometers per hour. On that occasion neither of the two stages managed to return to Earth.

Today’s launch, approved last Tuesday by the government’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), prepares the ground for the United States to return to the Moon and accelerate the path to Mars.

SpaceX announced more tests this year of Starship, a ship designed to undertake long-range journeys, capable of transporting crew members and large satellites, and with the cost savings offered by its reusability.

The American space agency NASA chose this vehicle to put crew members of the Artemis III mission on the lunar surface, which, in 2026, and for the first time in more than half a century, will send astronauts from the United States to the natural satellite.

“We are one step closer to returning humanity to the Moon through Artemis and then looking towards Mars“said this Thursday in X the administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson, when congratulating the test.

NASA astronaut Raja Chari, who attended the historic launch in Boca Chica today, stressed to EFE that it is about the path “to return to the moon“.

The flight engineer noted that it is exciting to see him after the “many meetings” these projects require.

Just like Chari, dozens of curious people and tourists came the night before to Isla Blanca beach, on South Padre Island, 1.5 kilometers from Starbase, Musk’s space complex in Boca Chica, a city bordering the state. from Tamaulipas (Mexico).

The area has one of the best views of the launch tower, which is outside the SpaceX complex and about 50 meters from the beach.

“We were shopping in Houston (Texas), but we found out that it coincided with this launch and we couldn’t miss it,” Shen, 16, who traveled from Beijing accompanied by her family, told EFE.

For a Colombian, Viviana, it was “a unique opportunity“, as he told EFE. “I don’t mind being hot, hungry or thirsty, I don’t know if I will ever experience something like that again,” he added.

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