SpaceX’s Starship Prototype Lands Successfully in Flight Test

SpaceX’s Starship rocket prototype nails its landing on its third attempt, according to Variety. However, after having a soft touchdown, the rocket blew itself up after its flames failed to go out after around eight minutes, according to NBC News.

The heavy-duty prototype from SpaceX, known as Starship SN10, blasted off yesterday from Boca Chica, Texas. It lifted off at 6:14 p.m. EST from the launch site, according to The Washington Post. The rocket later coasted to its top altitude, flying to a height of around 32,000 feet.

It then made an about face, leaning back toward earth horizontally to prepare for its landing. The rocket was then able to fly itself back to earth after the six-minute flight where it successfully made the first upright landing for any Starship model.

The last two prototypes, called SN8 and SN9, both exploded and ended in a fireball. One launched as recently as last month. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, was initially pleased with SN10.

“Starship SN10 landed in one piece!” Musk tweeted.

After it caught on fire, however, Musk tweeted, “RIP SN10, honorable discharge.” The rocket was unmanned, and no one on the ground was reportedly injured.

Despite the fact the rocket blew up, Musk is not daunted. There are already preparations being made to fly the next rocket prototype, SN11.

Starship is being developed by SpaceX to carry people, as well as around 100 tons of cargo, on missions to Mars and the moon in the future.