SpaceX Starship Fourth Flight Test

This topic discusses the forthcoming SpaceX fourth flight test of the integrated Starship (#29) and Super Heavy booster (#11), currently scheduled for launch no earlier than 2024-06-06 12:00 UTC. The planned flight, if successful, will launch the craft on a near-orbital trajectory, with the first stage booster performing a boost back burn and soft water landing (braked by a landing burn) in the Gulf of Mexico, and the upper stage Starship accelerating to a velocity slightly less than orbital speed, causing it to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. The reentry is slightly modified from that planned for the third test:

The fourth flight test turns our focus from achieving orbit to demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy. The primary objectives will be executing a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster, and achieving a controlled entry of Starship.

To accomplish this, several software and hardware upgrades have been made to increase overall reliability and address lessons learned from Flight 3. The SpaceX team will also implement operational changes, including the jettison of the Super Heavy’s hot-stage following boostback to reduce booster mass for the final phase of flight.

Flight 4 will fly a similar trajectory as the previous flight test, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This flight path does not require a deorbit burn for reentry, maximizing public safety while still providing the opportunity to meet our primary objective of a controlled Starship reentry.

The fourth flight of Starship will aim to bring us closer to the rapidly reusable future on the horizon. 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.

per the SpaceX Upcoming Launch page for the mission which will be updated with schedule information as the launch approaches.

Here is a preview from Everyday Astronaut.


Slipped to 8:50 EDT:

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Awesome! Starship took substantial damage on reentry with the flaps appearing to largely burn off. Still attempted the simulated landing but probably not a good one (engine relight telemetry appeared lost).

Super Heavy simulated landing looked pretty good:


I got up early in Oregon to watch it live. What a spectacle and huge accomplishment. Watch the replays on EveryDayAstronaut if you can.


Water splash down of SpaceX Starship Booster 11 (B11). Truly inspiring! Starship Ship also splashed down successfully but video footage available at time of this writing is not as revealing. Overall, SpaceX Starship Fourth Fight Test was a highly successful mission!


Perhaps the People’s Liberation Army Navy will provide us some details when they recover it. Unless India can get to it first.


Recover the SpaceX rocket (Starship in Indian Ocean or 2nd Stage Falcons which happens quite often) would be a good continuous training mission to keep the U.S. navy on it’s toes. But expecting U.S. federal government to order common sense training is asking a bit much!


Would they burn/break up?

Presumably other rocket first stages are more likely intact.