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Watch the splashdown landing of SpaceX's Super Heavy booster tracked from the Gulf of Mexico

Super Heavy booster landing in the Gulf of Mexico

The fourth integrated test flight of the world’s biggest rocket, SpaceX’s Starship, included the first-ever successful vertical landing of a giant Super Heavy booster. The landing was broadcast live; however, only the onboard camera footage with a limited view was available in the live stream.

We didn’t have to wait long, though, until we could take a closer look at the images from the tracking camera stationed in the Gulf of Mexico where the maneuver happened.

The video that SpaceX made public on Saturday shows the so-called landing burn, during which the Supper Heavy reignites 13 of all 33 Raptor engines:

Despite it being Starship’s fourth test flight, it was only a second attempt to land the Super Heavy. During the third flight, there were problems with fuel delivery to the Raptor engines and SpaceX lost the booster some 460 meters over the Gulf of Mexico.

This time it was a different story. Fixes to address the issues from the previous flight worked and the 71-meter (232 feet) tall stainless steel tube performed a flawless splashdown landing.

Landing on the water is a way to test Super Heavy’s landing capabilities before SpaceX moves to its original plan – landing the booster on the launch pad using huge steel “chopsticks.” However, it would be too risky for the ground infrastructure to do these early tests directly on the pad.

That might change soon, though, as Elon Musk hinted on X: “Next landing will be caught by the tower arms.”

Landing on the Starbase launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, requires high precision. Once SpaceX finds a way how to reliably land and catch Super Heavy and the Starship upper stage, it will open the way to rapid reusability of the space transportation system.

As we have already reported, the fifth flight could theoretically occur within just a few weeks. That’s due to the success of the fourth test and the completion of its full mission profile. Federal Aviation Administration has no reason to investigate and mishap, thus significantly reducing the time to obtain the necessary flight license for SpaceX.

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