The SpaceX Starship SN-10 prototype lifted off at 5:15 pm in Boca Chica, on Wednesday from the Seaside launch pad. The rocket then flew at an altitude of about 10kms before taking a lean on the pad. Soon after that, the rocket was ignited with fire and lifted into the air by an explosion.
Until that point, the rocket appeared to achieve a key milestone with its first stable landing in three attempts. After its ascent, Starship shut off its three Raptor engines and performed a controlled “belly flop” descent, then reignited its engines to make a vertical landing.
Starship SN10’s post landing demise is unfortunate but still, everyone at SpaceX can chalk todays flight test up as a huge success. Become a patron at the link below for photo downloads, behind the scenes goodies, and more. @NASASpaceflight
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) March 4, 2021
Even with such mayhem, the test is likely to signal progress for the massive vehicle. An earlier Starship rocket slammed to the ground on the program’s first high-altitude flight on Dec. 9, igniting a fireball, followed by a similar outcome with a second prototype last month. No one was hurt in the mishaps, and there were no reports of injuries from the fire after the latest flight, which was the third high-altitude test.
SpaceX Starship founder Elon Musk plans to use the Starship to shuttle as many as 12 people around the moon in 2023, land NASA astronauts on the lunar surface, and eventually settle explorers on Mars. The company still has to work to prepare the Starship for its first orbital flight, which could occur later this year.
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