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SpaceX flight of world’s largest rocket achieved objectives

BOCA CHICA, Texas — The most powerful launch vehicle ever built achieved key objectives Thursday, according to SpaceX.

The launch of Starship was the second uncrewed test of the year by SpaceX.

Starship lifted off from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Texas at 7:50 a.m. CT today and the mission ended about an hour later as the capsule splashed down in the Indian Ocean.

SpaceX said Starship achieved several milestones, including the re-entry and splashdown of the capsule and booster.

“Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean! Congratulations @SpaceX team on an epic achievement!!,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted on X.

After separating from the spacecraft, the Super Heavy booster for the first time executed a landing burn and had a soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico about eight minutes after launch.

Meanwhile, the Starship capsule reached orbit and, less than an hour after launch, it began reentry.

NASA has selected the Starship spacecraft for the Artemis program. According to NASA, Starship would complete the final leg of a crewed mission to the moon, taking the astronauts from a spacecraft in lunar orbit and ferrying them to the surface.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson posted a congratulatory message on X.

“Congratulations @SpaceX on Starship’s successful test flight this morning! We are another step closer to returning humanity to the Moon through #Artemis—then looking onward to Mars,” Nelson posted.

“The fourth flight of Starship will aim to bring us closer to the rapidly reusable future on the horizon,” SpaceX posted on its website. “We’re continuing to rapidly develop Starship, putting flight hardware in a flight environment to learn as quickly as possible as we build a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

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