SpaceX Starship achieves groundbreaking ocean landing

  • Elon Musk’s Starship has made a groundbreaking soft water landing
  • The flight ended in the Indian Ocean
  • The test flight is the latest step in SpaceX’s quest for a reusable orbital rocket

Published on Jun 11, 2024 at 11:21 AM (UTC+4)
by Claire Reid

Last updated on Jun 11, 2024 at 7:55 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

SpaceX’s Starship had its first-ever soft water landing in a groundbreaking new test flight.

It was the fourth test flight for the mammoth rocket system – and it turned out to be a huge success. 

The ‘ambitious’ aim of the most recent test was to get the upper section of the rocket – known as the Ship – to make a controlled return to the atmosphere and then drop into the ocean. 

READ MORE! Elon Musk plans massive expansion of Starship to prepare for Mars missions

“Splashdown confirmed!”

Starship successfully lifted off from the Starbase in Texas at 7.50am local time on June 6 – where it went on to ‘deliver maximum excitement’, according to SpaceX. 

It managed to descend all the way down to the sea more or less intact – before losing a couple of pieces and eventually making its ‘soft landing’ in the ocean. 

Commenting on the mission’s success, SpaceX boss Elon Musk took to his social media site X to say: “Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean! 

“Congratulations @SpaceX team on an epic achievement!!”

While the SpaceX official account added: “Splashdown confirmed! Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting fourth flight test of Starship!” 

Why is this good news for Starship?

The latest test is good news for Musk and SpaceX as it brings them one step closer to the eventual aim of developing a fully and rapidly reusable orbital rocket system. Something that would be truly revolutionary in the world of rocketry.

In a news release, the SpaceX team celebrated the test flight, writing: “The fourth flight of Starship made major strides to bring us closer to a rapidly reusable future.

“Its accomplishments will provide data to drive improvements as we continue rapidly developing Starship into a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

“Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an inspired fourth flight test of Starship! And thank you to our customers, Cameron County, spaceflight fans, and the wider community for the continued support and encouragement.”

While last Saturday’s test was a resounding success, It’s fair to say that not all tests have gone as smoothly – with one of the boosters being completely destroyed in a past flight.

Starship is the world’s largest and most powerful rocket – for an idea of just how big, check out this video.

# Tags - Space, SpaceX, Starship


Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist who hails from the UK but is now living in New Zealand. She began her career after graduating with a degree in Journalism from Liverpool John Moore’s University and has more than a decade of experience, writing for both local newspapers and national news sites. Across her career she's covered a wide variety of topics, including celebrity, cryptocurrency, politics, true crime and just about everything in between.