All four previous attempts to land the rocket, designed to travel to the moon and Mars, ended in spectacular crashes.
The next-generation launch vehicle in South Texas, USA, achieved its first successful touchdown of its prototype Starship rocket during the latest test flight after four previous landing attempts were completed in the SpaceX explosion.
Wednesday’s feat marked a milestone for billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk’s private rocket reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle to finally carry astronauts and larger cargo to the moon and Mars.
The starship SN15 exploded from the SpaceX launch site at Boca Chika in Texas along the Gulf Coast and flew back to Earth for moments before it flew nose-down under aerodynamic control.
The 16-story, three-engine car landed gently in touch with its landing gear to bring itself back to a vertical position as the rocket landed on the ground.
“We’ve landed the starship, downstairs,” said SpaceX’s principal integration engineer, John, while commenting directly on the inspector’s flight.
A video feed of the fire at the base of the rocket after the engine was turned off showed the fire burning, but an automatic fire suppression system trained the stagnant water on the landing pad, eventually extinguishing the blazing fire.
The plane arrived on the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepard’s first American astronaut – a spaceflight – on a 15-minute suborbital mission on NASA’s Mercury-Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
‘Starship landing nominal’
Kasturi announced the success on Twitter by posting a short message in a short statement from Spaceflight: “Starship landing nominal!”
Nominal starship landing!
– Elon Musk (@elonmask) May 5, 2021
The previous four test flights of the Starship prototypes – the SN8 in December, the SN9 in February and the SN10 and SN11 in March – all exploded successfully, but were torn to pieces in pieces.
The full Starship rocket, which will stand at 120 meters (394 feet) high when combined with its super-heavy first-tier booster, is SpaceX’s next-generation passenger vehicle at the center of Musk’s ambition to make human space travel more affordable and routine.
SpaceX envisioned the starship as a versatile, fully reusable craft that could carry 100 metric tons and 100 passengers.
NASA recently chose SpaceX to develop a moon-landing system for astronauts, including starships. The company also envisions stainless steel behemoths as it is finally able to reduce travel time around the world through hypersonic, point-to-point travel.
The first orbital starship flight is planned for the end of the year. Musk says he wants Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maizawa to fly around the moon with the starship in 2023.