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Sun, Mar 10, 2024

So… Is Starship Really Ready For A Third Test Launch… This Week?

The Upcoming Third Flight Test Is Set To Build On The Insights Gained From Previous Flights

SpaceX is gearing up for the third flight test of its Starship rocket, tentatively scheduled for March 14, pending regulatory approval. The aerospace giant has announced that a live webcast of the flight test will commence about 30 minutes prior to liftoff, available for viewing on X @SpaceX.

Starship's second flight test marked several significant milestones and provided critical data for the continued rapid development of the spacecraft. Unlike conventional testing in a lab or on a test stand, these flight tests put the hardware in an actual flight environment to maximize learning.

The upcoming third flight test is set to build on the insights gained from previous flights while attempting a series of ambitious objectives. These include the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship's payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage's coast phase, the first-ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. Additionally, the mission will feature a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path is designed to allow SpaceX to test new techniques like in-space engine burns while ensuring maximum public safety.

SpaceX's rapid iterative development approach has been fundamental to the company's major innovative advancements, including the Falcon rockets, Dragon spacecraft, and Starlink satellite constellation. Recursive improvement is crucial as SpaceX aims to build a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, supporting human missions to the Moon, and ultimately facilitating travel to Mars and beyond.

As with all developmental testing, the schedule for the third flight test is dynamic and subject to change. SpaceX encourages space enthusiasts and the public to stay tuned to their X account for the latest updates on the mission.

FMI: www.spacex.com

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