SpaceX’s newest Starship prototype successfully landed on Wednesday for the first time after finishing up a high-altitude check flight in Texas. The rocket, an early check model referred to as SN10, demonstrated a couple of complicated dances in mid-air earlier than safely touching down, nailing a key milestone in Elon Musk’s marketing campaign to construct a completely reusable rocket system.
After aborting an preliminary launch try earlier in the day, the prototype lifted off at 6:14pm ET and soared 6 miles above SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas amenities. In contrast to the final two exams with SN8 and SN9, which launched successfully however exploded on their touchdown makes an attempt, SN10 caught a protected touchdown on a slab of concrete not removed from its launchpad.
The launch check’s essential goal was to exhibit the computer-controlled actions of the rocket’s 4 aerodynamic flaps that steer its descent earlier than touchdown, SpaceX engineer and reside stream host John Insprucker stated throughout the broadcast. At the finish of its climb to six.2 miles, every of the the rocket’s three Raptor engines steadily shuts down to arrange for a short free-fall again to land, reorienting itself horizontally with its “stomach” dealing with the floor.
Then comes the “stomach flop” maneuver. The rocket’s three engines reignite to swoop itself right into a vertical place for touchdown.
Starship is SpaceX’s next-generation, absolutely reusable Mars rocket system designed to ferry crews of astronauts and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to Earth orbit, the moon and ultimately Mars. The final three prototypes SpaceX has test-launched are early variations of the high half of the full Starship system, whose backside half is a reusable super-heavy booster powered by an array of SpaceX’s new Raptor rocket engines.