How to watch SpaceX launch the third flight of its Starship rocket on Thursday

SpaceX has announced when it will hold the next test of its Starship rocket. Itwill be the third test flight of the vehicle to date. The launch aims to send the vehicle, consisting of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft, on a new trajectory, with a splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

SpaceX will be live-streaming the launch, and we have the details on how to watch below.

Starship stacked
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The third test flight is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, with a launch window beginning at 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT) and running for just under two hours. The launch will take place from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, where the vehicle has already been stacked and readied for its flight.

You can watch the live stream of the test on either SpaceX’s website, or on X (formerly Twitter). Coverage will begin around 7:30 a.m. ET (4:30 a.m. PT).

The previous two launches of the Starship have ended in fiery drama with the explosion of both vehicles, although the more recent test in November 2023 made it further than the first launch, achieving stage separation before exploding. SpaceX is known for pushing the boundaries with its rocket launches, including frequent test flights and an acceptance of risk as part of the development process.

“The third flight test aims to build on what we’ve learned from previous flights while attempting a number of ambitious objectives, including the successful ascent burn of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship,” SpaceX wrote in a statement.

This move quickly approach has left the company at odds with safety bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which required an inquiry and fixes following the previous failed launch attempt, and environmental advocacy groups that have complained about debris from the explosions.

Now, SpaceX is using a new flight path that could help to mitigate these safety and environmental concerns. Starship’s new trajectory will see it splashing down in the Indian Ocean, which “enables us to attempt new techniques like in-space engine burns while maximizing public safety,” the company said in its statement.

The long-term aim of the Starship development is to create a reliable rocket system that is powerful enough to carry astronauts to the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program, and eventually perhaps even to Mars.

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