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SpaceX releases new video of the fourth Starship/Superheavy test flight in June

SpaceX on July 4, 2024 released a new compliation video of the fourth Starship/Superheavy test flight in June, showing some footage not previously released.

I have embedded it below. As is the policy now of many rocket companies as well as many space agencies worldwide, SpaceX added a pounding music score to the event. While sometimes this is fun, I must admit that I am finding it increasingly annoying. This is not a movie, it is real life. If anything, I think the music robs this particular event some of its magnificence by trivializing it.

But then, what do I know?

At the end, SpaceX teased a launch tower capture of Superheavy on the next flight, but I still think this is not going to happen because of the delays it would cause getting FAA approval.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Richard

    The fourth flight was in June.

  • Richard: You are right of course. This is what I get for writing without checking. Now fixed.

  • Brewingfrog

    “Next up” is rumored to be in about three weeks (or so). It will be fabulous!

  • Richard M

    Speculation is reaching a fever pitch. Will they or won’t they try for a catch on Flight 5?

    I am not even sure that SpaceX itself has made a final decision. I do think that Elon *wants* to do it, if it is feasible. But for all the talk of his despotic managerial style, he really does listen to his engineers. And likewise, if it proves that it may result in an extended delay in an FAA license, he may well decide that discretion is the better part of valor.

    Eric Berger’s article yesterday at Ars struggles to weigh the evidence, and is not quite sure where it ends up:

    In the days immediately following the fourth flight test, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said it was the company’s goal to make such a landing attempt on the next launch. However, during a talk last week with local residents in south Texas, Starbase General Manager Kathy Lueders said this attempt might not occur on Flight 5.

    However, the new video released Thursday indicates that a catch attempt is still on the table as a possibility, and perhaps even a likelihood. Such a landing would be both stunning visually, as well as a calculated risk to SpaceX’s launch tower infrastructure, as the booster likely would be landing with a few spare tons of methane and liquid oxygen propellant in its tanks.

    If SpaceX decides to press ahead with the attempt, it must still obtain a launch and reentry license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is tasked with ensuring the safety of people and property on the ground. It seems probable that the next test flight will not occur before August.
    I suppose we’ll know before too long.

  • Jeff Wright

    What garbage reporting.

    Sad how it is conservative media that is pro-consumer these days:

    It used to be NYT that had stories like that, with corporate-bought talk-radio that attacked any pro-consumer legislation.

    After shoving needles in folks arms by force—all big pharma’s apologists have been silenced

  • David Ross

    Elon is projecting four weeks, which suggests the weekend 3-4 August.

  • Planegeek

    Forgive the dumb question: I’ve always wondered how they obtained the Apollo footage of the stage separations that we always see.

    Since there was no digital video capability, was there a film camera that jettisoned and had to be recovered?

  • Edward

    That was a nice, picturesque article. The words said one thing, but he photographs give a different story.

    The article regales us with a tale of missing nests and egg yolk remains, but rather than show us a couple of egg yolks, supposedly fried by rocket blast instead of poached by natural predators, we see many photographs of joyous birds coexisting with Starbase and its employees.

    I’m a bit surprised that the article didn’t show us squashed lizards on the road and blame SpaceX rather than the beachgoers.
    Planegeek asked: “I’ve always wondered how they obtained the Apollo footage of the stage separations that we always see. Since there was no digital video capability, was there a film camera that jettisoned and had to be recovered?

    Yes. The cameras were mounted on the second stage, and were ejected for later recovery. Each was on one of the two test launches, Apollo 4 and Apollo 6. There was the camera at the aft end which shows the first stage separate and “fall” away. The interstage ring remained with the second stage for a few seconds so that the stage had some time to stabilize and remain in a fixed attitude for long enough for the ring to safely separate and fall away. The ring was not much larger in diameter than the extreme edges of the second stage engines, so there was a risk of a collision and damage during separation if there was too much motion of either the ring or the second stage. For the same reason, the ring did not separate with the first stage.

    The following video goes all the way to the end, and you can see motion just before the camera stops recording as it is ejected from the second stage. Don’t blink, because this seems to be played back at full speed, but it was recorded and is often seen in slow motion. (1 minute, second stage separation)

    The view of the third stage separating from the second stage is equally fascinating, as the settling thrusters can be seen doing their jobs. Not only did they push the third stage stack away from the second stage, but they also settled the propellants to the bottoms of the third stage tanks. (1 minute, Apollo stage separations at full speed)

    The following video shows the camera recording its own ejection after third stage separation: (2 minutes, slow motion)

  • Mark Sizer

    I agree with you about the music – but I’m old, although I did have a Walkman to add a soundtrack to my life, back in the day.

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