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A prototype of SpaceX’s rocket, which became SpaceX’s rocket to go to Mars in one day, finally made a successful landing in Texas on Wednesday. Previous attempts ended in explosions.
A prototype of the massive starship rocket developed by SpaceX, which had impressive explosions in its last four test flights, successfully landed on Wednesday 5 May.
According to the video broadcast by the company, flames started coming out of the rocket base shortly after the landing, but they were extinguished with water cannons a few minutes later.
SpaceX commentator John Inspucker said in the live video, such a fire is “not uncommon” given the mass of fuel used by such 50-meter-high craft.
This prototype, named SN15 for “serial number 15”, flew vertically from Boca Chica, Texas, using its three engines, and the vehicle then moved in a horizontal position in the air.
SpaceX did not say whether it managed to reach its target of 10 km altitude, like previous tests. The rocket then landed on the runway very close to the runway before returning to the vertical airport.
In early March, another prototype, the SN10, had also managed to land, but it finally exploded just minutes after touching down. Previously, the SN8 and SN9 were launched in December and early February, respectively, but fell into large fireballs as they returned to the ground. Finally, in late March, SN11 flew in dense fog, but the test also ended in an explosion.
The spaceship is set to be the rocket of choice for SpaceX to go to Mars. Future rockets will include, in addition to a first-stage manned spacecraft called Super Heavy. The entire will measure a height of 120 meters and will be able to carry up to 100 tons on board.
Meanwhile, this starship – until then modified – has been chosen by NASA as part of the American Artemis program to bring the next American astronauts to the moon.
The astronauts will launch from Earth by SLS, another rocket developed by NASA, which will dock at a lunar orbital station called Gateway. This is where the starship will have to wait for them there, ready to receive astronauts for the final leg of the journey to the lunar surface.
But last week, competitor Blue Origin, which also responded to the US Space Agency’s call for the tender, filed a complaint opposing NASA’s decision to choose SpaceX.