On Wednesday, SpaceX successfully launched and landed its futuristic Starship, completing the first test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk plans to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars. The previous four test flights all ended in fiery explosions before, during, or shortly after touchdown near Brownsville, Texas.
This upgraded version of SpaceX full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocketship flew over the Gulf of Mexico for more than 6 miles before flipping and descending horizontally, then returning to vertical just in time for a touchdown. John Insprucker, the commentator, announced the launch, “Starbase Flight Control has confirmed, as you can see on the live video, we are down. The Starship has landed!”
It was included in the launch of four more NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, the nation’s first nighttime crew splashdown since the Apollo moonshots, and two launches for its mini internet satellites. NASA selected SpaceX Starship less than a month ago to transport astronauts to the lunar surface in the coming years. Last week, however, the $3 billion deal was halted after the losing companies — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Dynetics — protested the pick. Last month, Musk said that the NASA funding would assist in the construction of Starship, which will eventually launch atop a Super Heavy booster.