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Starship has launched successfully

SpaceX launches Starship rocket at third attempt, reports the BBC. This happened about 25 minutes ago.

Pessimist that I am, I did not want to watch the launch in case it blew up again. So far, it hasn’t.

UPDATE: OK, now it has. But it got a lot further than last time.

12 comments to Starship has launched successfully

  • APL

    Starship has launched successfully

    Huh! None of the usual SpaceX groupies seem to have reported on this launch.

    But if it’s got to orbit successfully, then Congratulations to Spacex, But it’d be extra double plus good, to see them do a controlled touch down of the booster.

  • jgh

    This is another much-needed small step away from Columbus and towards Cabot.

  • Kirk

    Iterative failure you learn from is far better than zero-defects “Gotta get it perfect, every time…” mentalities, every time.

    This is a truism across all human endeavor.

    In order to learn, you must do. In order to do successfully, you have to embrace failure and learn from it.

  • Bloke in California

    They fixed the things that went wrong in the last launch; now they’ve found some new things to fix for the next launch. This is the way.

  • Paul Marks

    I wonder if sabotage is involved. Mr Musk has not been very popular in establishment circles since he spent such vast sums of money defending what is left of Freedom of Speech.

  • Nah Paul.

    The 1st Stage launched successfully but failed to relight all the engines on the return so hit the sea at near terminal velocity. The last screen shots showed it struggling to keep “pointy end down” and the remaining fuel was likely sloshing around like the last bit of soda in a can. I suspect the final call will be engine failure due to fuel starvation.

    As for the 2nd stage, that got all the way to re-entry, but it’s re-entry angle was all over the place, at one point it seemed to be trying to enter the atmosphere sideways, exposing the unprotected stainless steel (no heat tiles) to excessive heating upon re-entry leading to a critical structural failure.

    It’s a test ship, so all the data that can be gathered will help the redesign, but there’s no way this is going to be ready for Artemis 3 (first Polar moon landing) anytime soon.

    2028/2029, maybe.

  • SpaceX initial assessment is out:

    On March 14, 2024, Starship successfully lifted off at 8:25 a.m. CT from Starbase in Texas and went on to accomplish several major milestones and firsts:

    For the second time, all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster started up successfully and completed a full-duration burn during ascent.

    Starship executed its second 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 and completed a full boostback burn to send it towards its splashdown point in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Super Heavy successfully lit several engines for its first ever landing burn before the vehicle experienced a RUD (that’s SpaceX-speak for “rapid unscheduled disassembly”). The booster’s flight concluded at approximately 462 meters in altitude and just under seven minutes into the mission.

    Starship’s six second stage Raptor engines all started successfully and powered the vehicle to its expected orbit, becoming the first Starship to complete its full-duration ascent burn.

    While coasting, Starship accomplished several of the flight test’s additional objectives, including the opening and closing of its payload door (aka the pez dispenser,) and initiating a propellant transfer demonstration. Starship did not attempt its planned on-orbit relight of a single Raptor engine due to vehicle roll rates during coast. Results from these demonstrations will come after postflight data review is complete.

    Starship went on to experience its first ever entry from space, providing valuable data on heating and vehicle control during hypersonic reentry. Live views of entry were made possible by Starlink terminals operating on Starship.

    The flight test’s conclusion came during entry, with the last telemetry signals received via Starlink from Starship at approximately 49 minutes into the mission.

    While our team reviews the data collected from this flight, Starship and Super Heavy vehicles are preparing for upcoming flights as we seek to increase our launch cadence throughout the year.


  • Paul Marks

    John Galt – thank you Sir.

  • OFT3 lasted way longer than expected. Scot Manley has a good analysis on YouTube.

  • One thing I think was under-reported:

    There were no issues they were tracking during the countdown.

    Every single technical aspect SpaceX had seen before went flawlessly.

  • bobby b

    Old silly saying used to be, the operation was a success but the patient died.

    It was derisive when used medically, but it makes perfect sense when designing machinery. The lessons learned were greater than the outcome was bad.

  • It should be pointed out that Starship launched on 14/3 was the largest single objected ever launched at 200 Metric Tonnes.

    By comparison, the International Space Station was assembled module-by-module over more than a decade at 450 Metric Tonnes.

    The heaviest, fully loaded Space Shuttle was STS-117 at 123 Metric Tonnes.

    After in orbit refuelling has been developed (long way to go yet), Starship HLS will be able to deliver about 100 Metric tonnes of cargo to the lunar surface and return to the Earth for rapid reuse.

    This will allow the development of a meaningful lunar presence from 2030 onward including continually manned moon base, lunar optical and radio telescopes large enough to resolve details on exoplanets, in-situ resource utilisation (turning lunar ice and regolith into useable resources) and construction of orbital structures launched from the Moon rather than the Earth.

    Conrad Hilton might finally get his “Hilton Hotel on the Moon”.

    It’s a fascinating time to be alive, if Putin doesn’t make us all glow in the dark.

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