A couple of days ago, SpaceX hit a milestone with its Starship SN15 prototype rocket that had a test flight that ended in a successful landing without an explosion. It appears SpaceX is very pleased with itself, and CEO Elon Musk recently stated that the prototype might fly again very soon. That statement came less than 48 hours after the prototype successfully landed without exploding for the first time.
As is typical for Musk, he took to Twitter to share the information, simply stating, “Might try to refly SN15 soon.” Anyone waiting in anticipation for another flight of the prototype spacecraft should temper Musk’s comments with a grain of salt. Musk has multiple times in the past promised something that didn’t happen.
SpaceX typically waits about a month between test flights of the Starship prototypes. That this is the first prototype that didn’t explode or crash might have SpaceX looking to accelerate its timeline. The FAA has confirmed authorization for SN15, SN16, and SN17 to conduct test flight operations.
Whether or not that means SN15’s previous certification for flight is still valid is unclear. SpaceX is keeping itself very busy of late. In addition to the successful Starship SN15 test flight and landing, the company also recently returned astronauts to Earth from the ISS. Those astronauts splashed down under cover of darkness with no issues at all.
SpaceX also recently launched additional Starlink satellites for its satellite-based broadband Internet service. It’s certainly not unexpected for a program as ambitious as the Starship program to have its share of crashes and failures. SpaceX previously promised major upgrades were being integrated into SN15.
Interestingly, the company skipped SN12, SN13, and SN14 prototypes, which were never completely assembled. Changes made to SN15 were to address issues the spacecraft had with landings, and finally, those changes seem to have worked.