SpaceX's Starship SpaceX

SpaceX‘s Starship survives reentry after a successful fourth flight test and a splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

SpaceX’s Starship hit a major milestone in its fourth uncrewed test flight, advancing the development of a system that could land NASA astronauts on the moon by 2026 and more.

The Super Heavy booster launched from SpaceX’s Starbase in South Texas at 7:50 a.m. CT (12:50 p.m. UTC), powered by 32 of its 33 Raptor engines. As the world’s most powerful launch vehicle, it generates 16.7 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

After launch, the rocket’s upper stage, called the Ship, separated from the first stage and ignited its six Raptor engines. The Super Heavy booster then made a controlled splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

The upper stage climbed to heights of over 200 kilometers (125 miles), but a full orbit was not intended for this test. Instead, SpaceX planned for the Starship to make a gentle splashdown in the Indian Ocean.