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Elon Musk's SpaceX aces third test flight of Starship on Thursday

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Elon Musk's SpaceX aces third test flight of Starship on Thursday

San Francisco, March 14 (IANS) Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched the third test flight of its huge Starship vehicle on Thursday.

While the winds played havoc, delaying the launch by an hour, the flight took from SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica Beach in south Texas at 9.25 a.m. EDT (6.55 IST).

“Liftoff of Starship!” the company wrote on X.com.

“Starship reached orbital velocity! Congratulations @SpaceX team!!” added SpaceX founder Elon Musk in a post.

This comes after two test flights that were only partially successful in April and November, last year.

Following the flights, SpaceX was grounded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

On Wednesday, the agency granted clearance to the third test flight stating that the company “met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements”.

“The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including 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,” the company wrote in a mission statement on its website.

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SpaceX noted that the third flight “will also fly a new trajectory, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean”.

“This new flight path enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximising public safety,” it said.

The 400-foot-tall Starship rocket, along with the Heavy booster, aims to help land astronauts on the Moon during the crewed Artemis 3 mission in 2026.

–IANS

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