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SpaceX is testing the world's largest rocket

SpaceX is testing the world's largest rocket

On Saturday evening, March 30, Elon Musk released images of the third Starship test, which was conducted on March 14. “It is the largest flying object ever built,” is how the billionaire described on his personal page on Twitter/X, the platform he owns. With more than 20 satellites, it is “the first spacecraft project capable of making life multiplanetary.”

The spacecraft, which weighs 5,000 tons and is 120 meters high, was designed by… SpaceXMusk's company is capable of producing 7.5 million kilograms of thrust (the force that pushes the plane in the opposite direction to the exit of exhaust gases), making it the longest and most powerful rocket system ever built.

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During the third test, the spacecraft lost contact and disintegrated upon re-entry into the planet's atmosphere, rather than gently falling as planned into the Indian Ocean. The total duration of the trip was about an hour. However, SpaceX employees celebrated it and considered it a success.

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Earth's atmosphere

SpaceX tested Starship twice last year, first launching in April and then in November at its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

After this latest static fire test, which saw the rocket reach orbital speed for the first time, Musk revealed that the goal of the next Starship mission is to “overcome the intense meteoric heat generated by re-entering Earth's atmosphere.”

The next launch is scheduled for early May, SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwen Shotwell announced.

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According to Shotwell, the first commercial missions for SpaceX's next-generation rocket will likely involve launching Starlink satellites into orbit, which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

A human colony on Mars and trips to the moon

SpaceX also has a multi-billion-dollar contract with NASA to supply Starship rockets for the US space agency's Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon in the coming years.

The agency plans to send two astronauts to the moon using a version of Starship as a lunar lander, with a target date of no later than September 2026.

The last time humans went to the Moon was in 1972, on the Apollo 17 mission. Since then, no crew has traveled beyond low Earth orbit, meaning no humans have gone beyond Earth's orbit around the Moon since.

One of Musk's goals is to use a fleet of spaceships to transport crew and cargo across the solar system and establish a permanent human colony on Mars.