Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully landed the flight test of its SN15 Starship, the first such landing for its model Starships. Elon Musk, the founder, CEO, CTO, and chief designer of SpaceX, tweeted after the landing of the spaceship that Starship landing nominal.
Starship landing nominal!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2021
The SN15 Spaceship without crew launched at around 05:23 p.m. local time from the SpaceX facility in Texas. During the short 6-minute flight, the Starship flew upward, steered a belly flop move, and at last rectified itself before successfully landing vertically. After a few minutes under the Starship, a small fire burned on the landing pad, just similar to the SN10 Starship test that ended in an explosion.
HISTORY!!!!!!! On their 19th anniversary of being a company, @SpaceX proved their Starship vehicle’s wacky landing maneuver works!!! They NAILED THE LANDING!!! That was incredible!!! Congrats @elonmusk and the rest of the team!!!! That was unreal!!! pic.twitter.com/LYAE2Jr6KF
— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) May 5, 2021
However, this time, there was no blast – marking the initial successful landing of the Starship prototype reusable spaceship SpaceX plans to use for missions to the Moon finally. Furthermore, the one hundred and sixty-foot-tall spaceship powered by three Raptor engines of SpaceX. It designed to carry hundred metric tons into orbit, including both passengers and cargo.
Starship has Several Improvements over its Predecessors
According to SpaceX, the spaceship has many improvements over its predecessors. These improvements include upgrades to its communication & navigation systems, software, hardware, and massive engine, named Raptor engines. Initially, Musk explained the intended landing method of the spaceship during a media event in 2019.
He called it a unique move that would see the rocket dive back through the mid-flight with its belly pointed to the Earth as its 4 fins shift somewhat to keep it stable. It is a move intended to impersonator how a skydiver would fall through the air, else than the straight vertical descent to Earth that Falcon 9 rockets of SpaceX employ when they arrive for landings.
According to the website of the company, achieving the belly-flop landing move is necessary to enable a complete recyclable transport system designed to bring both cargo and crew on long-duration, astronomical flights and help humanity return to the Moon and travel to Mars and beyond.
The last example of fly, SN11 Starship, exploded during its landing, rained shrapnel on a neighboring beach, and threatened near video capturing equipment of YouTubers trying to make a video of the launch. Additionally, the prototype before that, SN10, landed straight in March, but another footage of the event showed the spaceship exploded around 3 minutes later.