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SpaceX’s mega rocket blasts off on a third test flight from Texas

March 14, 2024  By Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

SpaceX's mega rocket Starship launches for it's third test flight from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Thursday, March 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SpaceX’s mega rocket blasted off on another test flight Thursday, this time with the spacecraft reaching enough speed to coast toward its finish line halfway around the world.

It outperformed the previous two test flights, which both ended in explosions minutes after liftoff.

Starship, the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built, soared from the southern tip of Texas near the Mexican border before it headed out over the Gulf of Mexico. No people or satellites were on board.

Minutes later, the booster separated seamlessly from the spaceship and splashed down into the gulf. The spacecraft continued eastward for a planned hourlong flight and splashdown in the Indian Ocean.


The rocket and futuristic-looking spacecraft towers 397 feet (121 meters), easily exceeding NASA’s past and present moon rockets.

SpaceX’s Elon Musk congratulated his team.“SpaceX has come a long way,” Musk said via X, former Twitter. The rocket company was founded exactly 22 years ago Thursday.

NASA watched with keen interest: The space agency needs Starship to succeed in order to land astronauts on the moon in the next two or so years. This new crop of moonwalkers — the first since last century’s Apollo program — will descend to the lunar surface in a Starship, at least the first couple times.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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