SpaceX Starship reaches new heights in latest launch

The world's most powerful rocket took to the sky on Thursday morning in its most successful Starship launch to date.

Thursday's launch was the fourth test flight for the super-heavy rocket. While it was not flawless, Starship reached space, reentered Earth's atmosphere and, despite some damage, made a controlled landing in the Indian Ocean.

The previous three flights all ended with explosions.

The SpaceX Starship launches during its fourth flight test from Boca Chica beach on June 06, 2024 in Brownsville, Texas. During the fourth flight test, SpaceX is continuing assessments with a focus on “demonstrating the ability to return and reuse Starship and Super Heavy..." The company states that, "The primary objectives will be executing a landing burn and soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico with the Super Heavy booster, and achieving a controlled entry of Starship,” according to a news release. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

SpaceX broadcasted live video of Starship as it reentered the atmosphere with the camera showing one of its flaps breaking apart, but it managed to hold together enough for a successful splashdown.

"Despite loss of many tiles and a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!;" SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a post on X. "Congratulations @SpaceX team on an epic achievement!!"

The first stage of the rocket, a massive booster taller than the space shuttle, also had a controlled soft landing in the Gulf of Mexico, a promising sign in the company's quest to reuse the booster for multiple launches.

SpaceX's test flight came one day after Boeing's historic launch for NASA, sending two astronauts on a journey to the International Space Station.