SpaceX’s anticipated launch of the Starship SN15 has wrapped up and was largely a success. This was a milestone moment for SpaceX, which has watched past Starship prototypes explode during various states of launch and landing, paving the way for a reusable rocket to Mars. As with past launches, SpaceX broadcast the SN15 event.
The launch took place from SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, at 6:24 PM EST. The massive Starship prototype soared several miles into the air before turning off its trio of Raptor engines and making the fall back to Earth. Two engines fired back up to reorient the rocket and bring it safely to the ground.
This marks the first time a Starship prototype has successfully returned from a high-altitude flight to survive touchdown on its landing pad. The video does show a small fire at the base of the rocket, but it was described as ‘not unusual’ because of the type of fuel the rocket was carrying. The team successfully extinguished the fire.
If you missed it the first time around, you can watch the broadcast replay on SpaceX’s YouTube channel (above). In his own tweet, SpaceX’s Elon Musk declared, “Starship landing nominal!” The successful launch comes only a day after the private space company confirmed that it had successfully deployed another 60 of its Starlink Internet satellites.
SpaceX has played a key role in NASA’s renewed space travel ambitions, particularly its Artemis lunar plans and its work with the International Space Station. Last month, the company received a contract to develop a lunar lander for NASA, which later paused the work after a challenge was submitted by competitor Blue Origin.