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SpaceX's successful Starship launch 'great news for space travel,' expert says


The SpaceX Starship rocket was destroyed during its return to earth on Thursday, but experts are still calling the third test flight a success.

"They’ll be ecstatic with the progress they made today," says York University professor Paul Delaney. "They’ve gone much further with the progress in developing Starship than the previous two flights."

The first two test flights ended in explosions minutes after launch. Thursday’s flight lasted close to an hour, with Starship cruising through low orbit more than 230 kilometres above earth, before mission control lost communications with the spacecraft during its atmospheric re-entry.

CTV News’ Science and Technology Specialist Dan Riskin says that’s not necessarily a setback.

"This is really just the way you do things, you push things as hard as you can, and as long as nobody’s onboard it’s okay if it breaks, because you figure out where the breaking point is and then you go back and try something different."

The ultimate goal of SpaceX founder Elon Musk is to land people on Mars. Much sooner than that, NASA is depending on the Starship technology to return to the moon, a goal Riskin says is growing closer after Thursday’s successful launch.

“We are one step closer to the next steps on the moon. This rocket is what’s supposed to get people to the surface of the moon and walking around, then getting back in and flying home.”

Much work remains before the planned Artemis III lunar landing mission -- humanity's first return to the moon's surface in more than 50 years -- currently scheduled for late 2026. This week, Musk said he is hoping for at least six more Starship flights in 2024 alone. Top Stories

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