Skip to main content

SpaceX shares awesome rocket imagery from Starship flight

SpaceX’s third Starship test flight last Thursday was its best yet, far exceeding the first two missions, which took place last year and ended in huge fireballs just a few minutes in.

This time, the Starship — comprising the first-stage Super Heavy booster and upper-stage Starship spacecraft — kept on flying, with both parts reaching their destination points before breaking up on descent.

The largely successful mission involving the world’s most powerful rocket was a huge boost for the Starship project, with SpaceX aiming to use the vehicle for crew and cargo flights to the moon in the coming years. It could also be used for the first human flight to Mars, possibly in the 2030s, though there’s still much preparation work to be done before such an ambitious endeavor can be attempted.

SpaceX has since shared some breathtaking imagery from the recent Starship mission. It includes close-up footage of the 120-meter-tall rocket leaving the launchpad at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas:

Flight 3 liftoff as viewed from the top of the tower

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 15, 2024

It also shared a video of a wider view, in slow motion, showing the megarocket leaving the launchpad, blasting out almost 17 million pounds of thrust, the most ever by a rocket:

Slow motion view of Starship ascending through clouds above Starbase

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 15, 2024

Later in the mission, cameras attached to the Starship spacecraft delivered these dramatic images about 145 miles above Earth. The final two images show the vehicle heating up and glowing red as it descended at high speed before finally disintegrating:

Ship in space

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 16, 2024

SpaceX listed a number of firsts achieved with Starship’s latest test flight. They included the Super Heavy booster nailing a flip maneuver and completing a full boostback burn to send it toward its splashdown point in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also, the Super Heavy successfully lit several engines for its first-ever landing burn, though a short while later, the rocket broke up at about 460 meters over the Gulf of Mexico.

Following stage separation, Starship’s six Raptor engines all started successfully and powered the vehicle to its targeted orbit, becoming the first Starship to complete its full-duration ascent burn.

SpaceX said it’s now reviewing the data collected from the latest test flight and is seeking to increase its launch cadence as 2024 progresses. In other words, it might not be too long before we see another Starship roaring skyward.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SpaceX’s Starship reaches orbit on third test flight
spacex starship third test flight screenshot 2024 03 14 143605

SpaceX's mighty Starship rocket has made it into space on its third test flight. The rocket, launched at 9:25 a.m. ET today, March 14, took to the skies over the Starbase launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas, and made it to orbit but was lost before the planned splashdown in the India Ocean.

The vehicle consists of the lower section, the Super Heavy booster, and the upper section, the Starship or ship. The two were stacked together ahead of today's flight and achieved separation a few minutes after launch. This tricky maneuver involves cutting off most of the booster's 33 Raptor engines and disengaging clamps connecting the booster to the ship. The ship then fires its own engines to head onward into orbit.

Read more
Watch SpaceX’s cinematic video previewing Starship megarocket test
spacex cinematic video previews starship test

After a long wait, SpaceX has finally received permission to launch the third test flight of the Starship, the most powerful rocket ever to have flown.

This means that SpaceX can proceed with its originally stated plan to launch the Starship -- comprising the first-stage Super Heavy booster and the upper-stage Starship spacecraft -- on Thursday, March 14. Digital Trends has all the information you need to watch a live stream of what promises to be a spectacular event.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX launch the third flight of its Starship rocket on Thursday
Starship stacked

SpaceX has announced when it will hold the next test of its Starship rocket. Itwill be the third test flight of the vehicle to date. The launch aims to send the vehicle, consisting of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft, on a new trajectory, with a splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

SpaceX will be live-streaming the launch, and we have the details on how to watch below.

Read more