It’s a hell of a victory for SpaceX. The SN15 prototype of its Starship spacecraft was launched at high altitude and returned to Earth without problem. The previous four had all been destroyed in an explosion on their return to Earth. “Nominal Starship Landing!” “Elon Musk then tweeted.
🚀 For the first time, a SpaceX Starship rocket managed to return to Earth and land safely
The 4 previous attempts had resulted in impressive explosions pic.twitter.com/oUMTtJyUYe
– BFMTV (@BFMTV) May 6, 2021
The SN15 spacecraft took off yesterday from Boca Chica, Texas and rose more than 10 km into the sky, in order to test the maneuvers in flight. Everything went perfectly, even the vertical landing on a concrete platform not far from the launch pad. There was a small fire, but it went out very quickly. It would be due to the large amount of fuel used.
Also to discover in video:
Controversy over the choice of SpaceX
Starship was envisioned to send humans and up to 100 tons of material to the Moon, and then someday to Mars.
NASA last month gave SpaceX a budget of $ 2.9 billion to use Starship at least during the agency’s first two lunar missions. But other companies were in the running: Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and Dynetics. And they protested NASA’s move, saying two companies should have been chosen as planned and that Starship was favored in the process. It is now the Government Accountability Office that must decide. In the meantime, the Artemis space program is on hold.
SpaceX must now perform tests on prototypes of the first floor of Starship which will be occupied by the enormous Super Heavy booster. Finally, it will be a question of carrying out an orbital flight. It is in fact expected that the aircraft will refuel in orbit before returning to Earth. Many technical obstacles therefore remain to be overcome, in addition to the procedure which could call into question its lunar missions.
Source: The Verge