After 4 explosive failures, Elon musk owned SpaceX’s Starship Prototype SN15 nailed down its vertical landing and proved that it was 5th time the charm. After the historic moment, Elon Musk on the landing tweeted “Starship landing normal”. The event was live streamed with millions of space enthusiasts looking at SN15 landing on the pad as anticipated.
Starship landing nominal!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2021
Earlier, the SN11 rocket couldn’t make it back to the ground as it exploded. SN10 made SpaceX fans smile for a brief second before it also met with the similar fate of SN11 and exploded to pieces after the hard landing. Thankfully, SN-15 ended up accomplishing its mission and moved to SpaceX’s vision of taking rocket ships that will fly to ISS, Moon and other Space bodies and return back.
SpaceX launched its SN15 rocket ship at 6.24 ET from the company’s Boca Chica space facility. The flight also marked the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepard’s launch for a suborbital mission that left the Earth from Florida atop the NASA’s Mercury-Redstone rocket.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 4, 2021
The high-altitude rocket ship went on to reach its peak altitude. After those the rocket’s engines shut down to initiate the momentary free-fall to Earth. A few hundred meters later, the company’s engineers restarted the rocket’s engine. The rocket ship then kicked off its complex landing maneuver. As it neared the landing pad, the rocket started to reposition itself vertically and made a soft successful touchdown.
With the successful launch and the successful landing, SpaceX overcame one of the biggest challenges in its journey to create reusable Mars rocket. Before the launch, Musk, a chief-engineer himself, said how the prototype was launched with several hundred design improvements over the past prototypes. These past prototypes all crashed and burned.
During the landing, the rocket ship first maneuvered back into a vertical position under the rocket as it approached the ground. The 16-story rocket ship then deployed its legs and landed softly on the specially created concrete pad. A lot of SpaceX fans collectively gasped when a small fire ignited near the base but John Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer that was giving the live commentary on the microphone said, “Not unusual with the methane fuel that we’re carrying.”
After the landing was officially successful, Insprucker was heard saying, “We are down, the Starship has landed.”
The main Starship rocket will be standing 394 feet when aligned together with the first-stage booster. It will be SpaceX’s next-gen launch vehicle. The launch vehicle would be a first of many futuristic rocket-ships that will fulfill Elon Musk’s vision to make human space travel to destinations such as Mars affordable and not so rare.
It should be noted that the Starship’s current purpose is to send humans with 100 tons of cargo to Moon and Mars. The high-altitude prototypes such as SN11, SN15 represent the top half of the main Starship. The other one will be a huge “super-heavy” booster that will push the Starship’s first half before it could come back to Earth safely and land.
SpaceX’s current plan is to send the first orbital Starship anyway by the end of this year. Earlier this year, Musk had already announced that he will be giving the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa an opportunity to fly around the moon in the official Starship as early as 2023.