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SpaceX shares stunning night shot of its Super Heavy booster

SpaceX has released a breathtaking image (below left) of its Super Heavy booster, which has been moved to the launchpad ahead of the Starship’s fourth test flight. It shows the world’s most powerful launch vehicle on the pad at night, with a dramatic star-filled sky as the backdrop.

Super Heavy booster for Flight 4 moved to the pad at Starbase

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 4, 2024

No date has been set for the fourth flight of the Super Heavy and Starship spacecraft — collectively known as the Starship — as SpaceX is still waiting for a flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the company said recently that it hopes to get the mighty rocket airborne from its Starbase facility in southern Texas in May. As it moves toward the launch, the final preparation work will involve SpaceX lifting the Starship rocket onto the top of the Super Heavy booster.

SpaceX has been making promising progress with its next-generation rocket. While the first two test flights last year ended only seconds into flight, the third one last month achieved many of its goals, including getting the spacecraft to orbit.

There’s still much testing to be done, but when it’s finally ready, the rocket will be used by NASA for crew and cargo missions to the moon as part of the Artemis missions and could even be used for the first crewed mission to Mars, possibly in the 2030s.

A modified version of the Starship spacecraft is set to be used in the Artemis III mission in 2026, which will see the first female and first person of color step onto the lunar surface. The pair will head to lunar orbit aboard an Orion spacecraft powered by NASA’s new SLS rocket, where they’ll board the lunar space station. They’ll then enter the Starship rocket for the short trip to the surface of the moon.

The Orion has already been on a successful uncrewed test flight around the moon and is set to carry the first astronauts along the same path in the Artemis II test mission, which is currently scheduled for September 2025.

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Trevor Mogg
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