SPACEX successfully launched and landed its Starship Serial Number 15 rocket, making it the only prototype to survive a high-altitude flight test.
The company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, launched the prototype around 6.15pm on Wednesday from a testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
SpaceX successfully launched and landed SN15[/caption]
This was SpaceX’s fifth Starship test[/caption]
Musk took to Twitter to celebrate the landing shortly after the prototype touched down.
“Starship landing nominal,” he tweeted.
The SN15 starship prototype is the first of its kind that has not blown to pieces after a high-altitude test.
SN15 after liftoff[/caption]
SpaceX hopes to one day send the spacecraft to the moon and Mars[/caption]
SpaceX hopes to one day send the spacecraft to the moon and Mars.
SN15 reached six miles into the sky, hovered for a moment, and performed what Musk refers to as a “belly flop” before touching back down.
This was the fifth high altitude test of a Starship, and the first that didn’t result in an explosion.
During Wednesday’s landing, flames did briefly emerge from the base of the rocket.
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John Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer, said that was due to the fuel used by the rocket.
During the four previous tests, which SpaceX began conducting in December, the rockets also had successful launches and “belly flops” after traveling several miles up into the air.
However, problems emerged while landing during each of those tests — which led to the explosions at touch-down.