China space watchers hail SpaceX Starship’s ‘breathtaking’ test flight | Space

About eight minutes into the flight, Starship’s first stage – also known as the Super Heavy Booster – successfully landed in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, despite the failure of one of its 33 engines at ignition.

More than an hour later, the second stage of the rocket splashed down in the Indian Ocean in a controlled manner, although its heat insulation tiles were severely burned during atmospheric re-entry.

“How powerful and breathtaking,” wrote a Chinese space start-up employee on her Weibo account.

A Beijing-based rocket engineer, who spoke to the South China Morning Post on the condition of anonymity, said he would give the flight’s achievement a score of 90 out of 100.

“With this flight, Starship has completed 60 per cent of its work towards the ultimate goal,” he said.

State-owned China Space Daily hailed Starship’s performance as “approaching maturity” and said it surpassed the space shuttle to become the largest and most massive re-entry spacecraft in human history”.

The report noted that the rocket was making “remarkable progress” with each of its test flights and said it could be “one step away from full reusability”.

Elon Musk says Starship rocket could be ready for uncrewed mission to Mars within 4 years

Starship’s first integrated flight…


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