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‘Starship Has Landed’: SpaceX Launches & Lands Successful Flight

The Starship SN-15 prototype took flight and skyrocketed for more than 10 kilometres over the Gulf of Mexico.

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SpaceX successfully launched and landed its Starship on Wednesday.
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SpaceX successfully launched and landed its Starship on Wednesday, 5 May. Elon Musk’s Starship is intended to be used for space missions, including sending astronauts to Mars.

This was the fifth attempt of the rocket ship, as the previous four test flights had ended up in fiery explosions before, during or soon after touchdown.

The Starship SN-15 prototype took flight from SpaceX’s seaside launch pad and skyrocketed for more than 6 miles (10 kilometres) over the Gulf of Mexico before turning and descending horizontally, and then going vertical again just in time for touchdown.

Launch commentator John Insprucker announced, “Starbase Flight Control has confirmed, as you can see on the live video, we are down. The Starship has landed.”

The flight was almost flawless except a fire at the base of the 160-foot (50-meter) rocket, which was quickly extinguished.

This was SpaceX’s fourth successful mission in the past two weeks, marked by the 60th anniversary of the flight of first American in space, Alan Shepard.

SpaceX had recently made headlines for the nation’s first night-time crew splashdown since the Apollo mission in 1968. The other two missions included the launch of four more astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, and a pair of launches for SpaceX mini internet satellites.

NASA had recently chosen SpaceX’s Starship as the sole winner to deliver astronauts to the moon in the next few years. However, the $2.9 billion contract was halted last week, after Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Dynetics filled a protest to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Musk claimed last month that the NASA money will help develop the Starship. He added that it’s been a “pretty expensive” project and has mostly been funded internally.

After the crew flight on 23 April, Musk was quoted as saying, “As you can tell, if you’ve been watching the videos, we’ve blown up a few of them. So excitement guaranteed, one way or another.”

(With inputs from AP)

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