The SN-15 missile during landing: first success after explosions of four previous models
Photo: - / AFP
After four failed attempts, a prototype of the Starship rocket from the US company SpaceX landed successfully on Wednesday after a test flight.
Shortly after landing, the video broadcast still showed flames at the base of the SN-15 rocket, which a SpaceX commentator described as not unusual.
The flames were quickly extinguished after touching down.
The aim of the tests was a gentle vertical landing of the 50 meter long rocket.
SpaceX uses desert-like terrain in the US state of Texas for the test flights.
SN-15 stands for "serial number 15" - four previous models exploded during or shortly after landing.
In December, a prototype exploded on landing due to a problem with the fuel system.
The speed of the unmanned missile during the landing approach was too high, said SpaceX founder Elon Musk after the test.
In February, a prototype fell to the ground on the test site because of a technical defect, apparently unchecked, and was engulfed in a fireball.
The rocket had successfully completed a series of test maneuvers in a horizontal position.
The problems began when the missile attempted to turn back into a vertical position to land.
A prototype landed safely in March - and only then exploded.
During the test, the unmanned rocket landed safely on the ground shortly after takeoff.
It didn't go up in flames until a few minutes later.
Another prototype crashed at the end of March.
Apparently he had gotten out of control on the approach.
SpaceX founder Musk hopes that the new rocket will one day take people and cargo to Mars.
In 2023, it should already be used for a circumnavigation of the moon, in which, among other things, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa wants to participate.
On this occasion, Musk recently assured that the "Starship" rocket would be "safe enough" to transport people in two years.
The US space agency Nasa also wants to use the "Starship" rocket for its planned moon landing.
SpaceX has already established itself in space travel with the Falcon-9 rocket.
In November she completed her first manned mission to the International Space Station.
cop / AFP