SpaceX recorded a successful launch test and landing of their Starship SN15 rocket on Wednesday, marking the fifth successful high-altitude test flight of the Starship system.
The SN15 (Serial Number 15) rocket flew to an altitude of 33,000 feet before safely landing back on the pad from which it launched. This is the first high-altitude test where the rocket was not destroyed after landing.
There were reports of a small fire on the landing pad, but the blaze was contained within a few minutes.
Elon Musk took to Twitter after the test to post, “Starship landing nominal!”
This test marks new ground for SpaceX, who signed a $3 billion contract with NASA to build rockets that would be sent to the Moon. The current purpose of the Starship rocket is to move cargo and personnel into space, with the eventual target being Mars.
The Starship prototypes are approximately 150 feet tall, made of stainless steel and are powered by three Raptor rocket engines. The SN15 and the currently untested SN16 have been cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration for launch.
SpaceX has seen some resistance to their new deal with NASA in the form of protest filed by Blue Origin and Dynetics, both controlled by Jeff Bezos. The protest has halted all work on the project until further notice.
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