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Elon Musk’s SpaceX lands Starship spacecraft in first full successful test flight
The flight comes after NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to develop Starship to land astronauts on the moon.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX finally stuck the landing of one of its Starship spacecraft prototypes Wednesday, a key milestone in the test program and a dramatic statement coming just two weeks after NASA chose the vehicle to fly its astronauts to the surface of the moon.

The Starship spacecraft, known as Serial Number 15 (SN15), lifted off from SpaceX’s launch site near the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas, firing its three Raptor engines to an altitude of about 6 miles. It then turned itself sideways in a “belly flop” maneuver and headed back to Earth before righting itself, reigniting its engines and touching down softly.

“The Starship has landed,” John Insprucker, SpaceX principal integration engineer, said during the live broadcast.

The flight was the fifth high-altitude test of a Starship prototype, and the first that ended without the rocket destroyed. Musk’s company is developing Starship to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. The landing caps off a busy period for SpaceX that has seen the return of astronauts to Earth aboard a Crew Dragon and a milestone Starlink launch, not to mention Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live this week.

Nailed it! Elon Musk’s SpaceX blasts its Starship SN15 rocket six miles into the sky before returning it safely to the pad – a month after the last prototype exploded after landing
The Elon Musk-owned company launched SN15 around 6:24pm ET on Wednesday, following a day of delays and anticipation, from its testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

SN15 ignited its three massive Raptor Engines that released out streams of white smoke from the base before fire blew out to shoot the rocket into the air. The prototype climbed through the sky until it reached six miles, hovered for a moment and then performed the infamous sideways flip, dubbed a ‘belly flop’ maneuver by Musk.

‘Starship landing nominal,’ Musk tweeted moments after his pride and joy made a safe and successful landing on the pad. The successful landing brings the billionaire one step closer to fulfilling his dream of sending the humans to Mars.

27 Apr 2021 – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin challenges NASA over SpaceX moon lander deal

28 Apr 2021 – SpaceX wins NASA’s moon lander contract
Private spaceflight companies Blue Origin and Dynetics are both filing protests, in response to NASA’s decision to make their competitor SpaceX the sole winner of a contract to build the lunar lander for the agency’s Artemis program.

28 Apr 2021 – Jeff Bezos challenges NASA moon lander contract to SpaceX, Elon Musk mocks Blue Origin
The world’s two richest men have been competing in the space race with their aerospace firms. The latest contest was for a NASA contract that sought a lander for its manned mission to the moon under its Artemis program. Elon Musk won over Jeff Bezos, as SpaceX was chosen to be the sole contractor for the job.

The $2.9 billion contract was awarded to SpaceX by NASA earlier this month. In doing so, it turned down the bids by two other private space firms, including Blue Origin and a defence contractor from Alabama named Dynetics.

30 Apr 2021 – NASA and SpaceX now plan to bring Crew-1 astronauts home in the predawn darkness Sunday

2 May 2021 – NASA and SpaceX mission ends in success as Crew Dragon touches down in Atlantic Ocean
NASA and SpaceX’s ISS return mission has ended in success as a quartet of space travellers touched down off the coast of Florida following their journey home from the ISS.

2 May 2021 – SpaceX returns 4 astronauts to Earth with rare night splashdown

2 May 2021 – SpaceX Crew-1 mission broke a spacecraft longevity record
The SpaceX Crew-1 mission has returned safely to Earth — and shattered a record in the process. NASA has confirmed that Crew-1 broke a record for the longest mission duration for a crewed American spacecraft, with the Crew Dragon capsule Resilience lasting 168 days in orbit before splashdown off the coast of Florida at 2:56AM Eastern. The previous best was set back in February 1974, when the last Skylab crew spent slightly more than 84 days on their mission.

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Image courtesy SpaceX and MSN

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