The SpaceX company has managed to land one of its Starship prototypes at the end of a high-altitude test flight.
Serial Number 10 touched down in Boca Chica, Texas – in contrast to its predecessors SN8 and SN9, which crashed into the ground.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. The next-generation space vehicle put down heavily on its extended legs. A fire then developed around its base and eight minutes later SN10 blew itself apart on the landing pad.
Nonetheless, SpaceX will be hugely encouraged by the test and the fact that the prototype successfully executed its in-flight manoeuvres and managed to make a reasonably soft landing. These milestones will give the company confidence as it moves forward with the ambitious concept. SpaceX envisages Starships replacing its existing Falcon rockets.
These vehicles carry out regular missions – both crewed and uncrewed – for NASA, the American military, and other commercial concerns.