Yesterday made for yet another exciting experience as SpaceX successfully landed the Mars prototype on the ground. No explosions or anything else to gasp at. The Starship SN15 model touched down on the pad without any complications. Just a smooth landing and a huge reaction from viewers both there and online.
There seemed to be what felt like a lot of positive energy coming from SpaceX over the last few weeks ever since the last model (SN11) didn’t quite make it to the ground. SN10 came so close, exploding minutes after it appeared to enjoy a semi-successful (yet slightly tilted) landing. However, SpaceX felt it was time to take the next step based on what they had learned thus far (SN12-14 skipped). The SN15 featured a number of new upgrades to both hardware and software this round. Upgrades that seemed to deliver the result they had been hoping for.
Starship landing nominal!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2021
Starship is still in its early stages and has a ways to go, including a larger number of engines that will be included with the final design. The company hopes that it will be able to reach orbit within a year in future tests. However, this marks a major spot on the timeline for the Starship. A vehicle that will be delivering both astronauts and cargo to both the Moon and Mars in the coming years (if everything works out).
You can watch the SN15 take off and land in the following coverage from SpaceX:
As you can see, it made what appears to be a perfect landing attempt. There was some small flame activity at the bottom due to the methane fuel that eventually the suppression systems kicked in and eliminated. Results like this will continue to be improved upon to prevent such experiences in the future as SpaceX enhances the design of the rocket.
Another big congratulation to SpaceX on this spectacular achievement.