A huge success on Elon Musk’s project: Starship prototype landed intact

Finally, SpaceX on Wednesday successfully launched and landed a new prototype of its Starship spaceship. The previously tested 4 Starship prototypes had exploded and after, all the 5th one landed intact. This successful test flight gets Elon Musk closer to the fully reusable rocket he wants.

While testing, SpaceX had sent the latest prototype of its mega-rocket system six miles above Texas. It was its fifth such launch since December.

Unlike the last four test attempts, the 5th prototype landed smoothly, without blowing up during its first 15 minutes back on Earth. The previous prototypes used to explode several minutes after landing, after a fire burning around their skirt wouldn’t go out. But at the 5th test, the fire at the prototype’s feet was extinguished.

After the success, Elon Musk, founder, CEO and the chief engineer of the SpaceX tweeted, ‘Starship landing nominal!’

The 5th version, Starship serial No. 15
(SN15), had followed the same trajectory as the previous ones. On Wednesday, the 16-story rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. When it approached the peak of its flight, the vehicle shut off two of its three truck-sized Raptor engines. It had hovered at nearly 33,000 feet before cutting the final engine. Then it tipped sideways and plunged back to Earth. As it neared the ground, the engines reignited to flip the rocket upright, and then it lowered itself to the landing pad.

As an evidence of success, SN15 was still sitting upright and intact on the landing pad on Wednesday afternoon, 5 May, 2021.

Musk has developed this system to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and even to Mars, then return to Earth to do that again. The smooth landing of SN15 gets Starship a big step closer to being the reusable vehicle, just what Musk wants.

As planned, a final version of this mega-spaceship is to become NASA’s next moon lander. The vehicle would be the first since 1972 that could put boots on the lunar surface.

  • May 6, 2021
Universe & Existence