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SpaceX’s Starship Prototype Flies High AND Sticks the Landing!

4 Mar 2021, 02:27 UTC
SpaceX’s Starship Prototype Flies High AND Sticks the Landing!
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They say, “third time’s the charm.” This was largely the case today as SpaceX made their third attempt at a high altitude flight test at their launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Like the previous two attempts, this flight saw a Starship prototype (SN10) with three Raptor engines fly to an altitude of 10 km (6.2 mi), conduct a “belly-flop” descent maneuver, and then return to the launch facility.

As with the previous high-altitude tests, the SN10 successfully launched, reached its apogee, and validated the control fins and aerodynamic surfaces. But unlike the previous tests, the SN10 was able to slow down enough and keep itself upright so it could make a soft landing. While the prototype exploded a few minutes after landing (apparently from a methane leak) the flight was a complete success!

In the month that passed since the previous flight, ground crews at the SpaceX South Texas Launch Site near Boca Chica had been prepping for their third attempt at a high-altitude flight. After much anticipation, March 3rd was selected as the earliest date for a launch attempt. Initially, Elon Musk and the Boca Chica crews were hoping to launch at 09:00 AM CST (07:00 A.M. PST; ...

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