SpaceX's Starship Literally Melted! But It Kept Flying To A Miraculous Landing!

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Published 2024-06-06
SpaceX's IFT4 Was expected to push the flight envelope out further, joining the dots between the orbital speeds and the flip and burn landings which had been demonstrated a few years ago.
There were a few changes to this flight profile, and in particular, intentionally discarding the hot staging ring appears to have freed up enough margin to make a soft landing of the booster possible.
But the real story of this flight was watching as the heat of atmospheric entry burned through at least one of the control flaps, but the spacecraft kept flying, remained in control and proceeded to a soft touchdown in the Indian ocean. The hardware was on show, but the software was performing the real miracles today.

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All Comments (21)
  • Lost an engine on the way up and compensated for it. Lost a different Booster engine on the way down and compensated for it Lost half a flap and compensated for it. AWESOME ENGINEERING
  • @Forest_Fifer
    "it is time" "Was i a good flap?" "Yes, you were the best flap"
  • "We lost half a control surface!" "No. We have half a control surface remaining."
  • This is where the material properties of stainless steel really shine. If Starship was made of carbon fiber or aluminum it would have been game over as soon as the plasma got through the hinge.
  • @laa2009
    Presenter: "It seems that we may not make it all the way down to the landing today" The flap: "I didn't hear no f*ckin bell"
  • @caldodge
    I suspect flight 5's main goal will be "flaps that don't start melting".
  • @FectacularSpail
    "Gave proof through the night, that our flap was still there" huge cheer
  • @Bosstradamuss
    This is the most Kerbal-landing in Spaceflight history.
  • @lucemiserlohn
    "tis nothing but a flesh wound" - Starship Serial Number 29
  • @ng1n369
    The flap really just said "It's not possible, it's necessary"
  • @yubijutsu8821
    Left flap:"what do we say to the lord of death?" Right flap:"not today"
  • @iTube2772
    At this point, I treat launch updates like spoilers because I want them only from you. Thanks for what you do and how you do it.
  • @Braunix
    A Starship flight is not finished until Scott has analyzed it.
  • @donenzonen
    Seeing half that flap still work was absolutely insane.
  • Man this was a better emotional rollercoaster than most modern movies. This needs to get an oscar for the best documentary. I also wonder what will SpaceX do about the flaps on the prototypes that are already built. Like will they add an ablative rubber layer or sweatcooling or will they just wait for block 2 to fix them? Also you can actually see the hotstage ring at 6:05 roughly above the gridfin actuator. Anyway may the flap be with you and keep up the flype for flight 5🤣
  • @cosby714
    I think the fact that it worked so well even after one of the flaps was ripped to shreds is a very good sign. It's durable.
  • @bzqp2
    Please someone recover this flap and put it in the Air and Space museum. It definitely earned it.
  • @minibeefcake
    whoever wrote that landing software needs a bonus. All 4 flaps were probably failing like that and the software compensated in real time and made the soft landing possible.
  • @vedranb87
    18:40 nice! This is how you do software. Take notes, Boeing!