For the first time, SpaceX has successfully flown a prototype of Starship — the massive rocket it expects to one day ferry humans to Mars — high into the air and landed it in one piece.
What happened: On May 5, SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype (dubbed Serial Number 15, or SN15) lifted off from the company’s Texas test site at 6:24 p.m. EST.
It flew about six miles into the air before reversing course, executing a “belly flop” maneuver to slow its descent. About six minutes after launching, SN15 landed upright back on Earth.
A small fire broke out near the base of Starship after the landing, but it was soon extinguished — and when the smoke cleared, the rocket was still intact.
“Starship landing nominal!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
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