Starship — SpaceX

Starship Is Far From Ready

The latest launch was a leap forward, just not a big enough one.

Will Lockett
Published in
4 min readJun 11, 2024

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Starship is set to be the biggest leap forward in space flight since the Apollo missions. It’s one of the first fully reusable rockets and the largest rocket we have ever built. As such, it promises to become by far the cheapest and most flexible route to space ever. Well, a few days ago, SpaceX conducted its fourth full-stack Starship test. The previous three ended in failure, with not a single stage of the rocket landing safely, which was the main selling feature of the Starship. In fact, one of these previous launches went so wrong that SpaceX lost its launch licence and is still facing environmental lawsuits. But this time, both Starship and its Super Heavy Booster made it to space and achieved a “soft landing.” On the surface, this seems like a giant step forward for the mega-rocket, but sadly, major questions and challenges hang over Starship.

So, let’s go over how the test went.

As with all major rockets, Starship has two stages, with the first getting the rocket off the ground before separating, significantly lightening the load, and letting the final stage fire its rockets, taking the vehicle into orbit. Starship’s first stage is known as Super Heavy Booster. All but one of its 33 rocket engines worked perfectly, with one failing…

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Will Lockett
Predict

Independent journalist covering global politics, climate change and technology. Get articles early at www.planetearthandbeyond.co