Takeoff and fiery return to Earth: The best photos and video of Starship’s fourth flight

The fourth Starship flight, which took place on June 6, gave all fans of astronautics a lot of emotions, as well as a spectacle, the analogues of which they have never seen before. After all, for the first time in history, the spacecraft’s re-entry into the atmosphere was broadcast live from cameras mounted on its body. The editors of the Universe Space Tech have collected the most beautiful footage of the past flight.

Starship takeoff

At the time of Starship’s launch, the Starbase spaceport was shrouded in low cloud cover. This prevented many of the photographers who were observing it to take photos. Nevertheless, we still have some beautiful footage of a giant rocket taking off into the sky.

Starship’s fourth launch. Source: SpaceX
Starship’s fourth launch. Source: SpaceX
Starship’s fourth launch. Source: SpaceX

In addition to the ground cameras, the footage was also captured from a drone. This is what the moment of the spacecraft launch looked like from a bird’s-eye view.

Starship launch. Source: SpaceX

SpaceX also released a video showing Starship taking off in slo-mo.

Super Heavy Separation

The Super Heavy booster separation is one of the most critical parts of a Starship flight. It takes place on a hot scheme. This means that Starship’s engines are started while the spacecraft is still connected to the Super Heavy. Such a scheme is more complicated than conventional separation, but it gives an increase in payload capacity.

Separation of the Super Heavy booster. Source: SpaceX

Fortunately, everything went safely. The Super Heavy successfully separated from the Starship, after which it performed a return maneuver and splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Starship’s re-entry into the atmosphere

Re-entry was the primary goal of Starship’s fourth flight. SpaceX engineers wanted to get maximum data on how its heat shield would behave and whether it would succeed in its task.

Starship’s re-entry into the atmosphere. Source: SpaceX

Starship entered the atmosphere at a speed of about 7.4 km/s. A plasma cloud quickly formed around the spacecraft, and the temperature of its heat shield reached 1400 °C. The whole process was broadcast live. It is easy to say that no Hollywood movie can convey the power and at the same time the breathtaking and frightening beauty of this moment.

Starship’s passage through the atmosphere was not easy. A number of heat shield tiles flew off the spacecraft, and one of its “fins” (a rotary stabilizer used for flight control) was severely damaged and only by some miracle did not fall off.

Starship’s re-entry into the atmosphere. Source: SpaceX

Nevertheless, the spacecraft continued its flight, turned into position, then activated its engines and gently splashed down in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, by this point, Starship’s cameras had received a lot of damage, denying us the opportunity to see beautiful footage of the end of the flight. But even the content of the broadcast was enough to remember this, without exaggeration, historic flight for a long time.