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  • Writer's picturePriyanshu Goti

Starship SOARS to Orbit, But Did it EXPLODE on Re-Entry? (Indian Ocean Mystery!)

Starship Makes Historic First Orbit, But Loses Upper Stage in Re-Entry

SpaceX's ambitious Starship program took a major leap forward on Thursday, March 14th, with the successful launch of its third Starship test flight. This marked a significant milestone as the Starship finally achieved orbit for the first time, exceeding its performance on previous attempts.

However, the excitement was short-lived. During re-entry over the Indian Ocean, the upper Starship stage, the spacecraft itself, was lost. While the exact cause remains unclear, SpaceX confirmed it likely disintegrated due to re-entry stresses or communication issues.

Third Time's a Charm (for a While)

This flight was a significant improvement over the previous two Starship test flights. Those attempts ended in fiery explosions shortly after launch. This time, the behemoth Super Heavy booster, with its record-breaking thrust of 16.5 million pounds, successfully propelled the Starship upper stage into orbit.

The Starship spent roughly an hour performing maneuvers in space, a critical test for its future capabilities. However, during the crucial re-entry phase, communication was lost with the spacecraft.

Loss During Re-Entry

The harsh conditions of re-entry put immense stress on spacecraft. It's possible the Starship succumbed to these forces, breaking apart before a controlled splashdown in the Indian Ocean. Another possibility is that the communication loss was due to a technical malfunction, leaving the fate of the craft uncertain.

A Step Forward, But Work Ahead

Despite the setback during re-entry, this mission represents a significant step forward for SpaceX. Reaching orbit is a critical achievement, demonstrating the Starship's potential for future deep space missions.

However, the loss of the upper stage highlights the challenges SpaceX still faces in perfecting the Starship's re-entry capabilities. Data gathered from this flight will undoubtedly be invaluable in future development.

SpaceX is known for its iterative approach to engineering, and this Starship test flight is sure to be no different. We can expect to see them analyze the data, refine the design, and attempt another launch in the not-too-distant future.

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