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SpaceX Starship Rocket SN15 Successfully Lands For The First Time Without Exploding

by Kenneth Chuacon / May 07, 2021 06:07 AM EDT
SpaceX Starship SN15

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, doing business as SpaceX, is an aeronautical manufacturing and space transportation company founded by Elon Musk.

One of the main programs of SpaceX is the Starship series of rockets. The company is planning to send people to outer space using Starship. Past prototypes have soared in high-altitudes as well, such as Starship Serial Number (SN) 8, 9, and 10. Unfortunately, all three prototypes ended up exploding.

SN8 exploded due to high touchdown velocity since it lost power in some engines. SN9 exploded due to a failed vertical flip for the landing due to another engine failure. SN10 successfully landed after a high-altitude exploration. It exploded after a few minutes. The explanation given by SpaceX was that SN10 had a too high touch down velocity, crushing the legs and skirt of the rocket.

The rocket went up to 10 kilometers into the sky, then transferred to a horizontal position for its descent. Once the vehicle was in position near the landing spot, rockets were ignited to flip it to a vertical position.

SN15 is the first successful re-entry for SpaceX's Starship program. This comes after company head Musk teased that SN15 came with major updates to the system. Future test flights are still in line. SN16 has been fully stacked and is awaiting a schedule for the test. SN17, SN18 and SN19 are still under construction. Musk has also teased that the next major upgrade in technology for the lineup will debut with the SN20 vehicle.

SpaceX is already targeting a rendezvous to the moon by 2023. It will bring along astronauts along with Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa.

This happened exactly 50 years since the first American Alan B. Shepard went into space.

Check out the successful journey of SN15 in this video uploaded by SpaceX on their YouTube channel.

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