SN15 after landing

“The test flight represents a major win for the hard-charging company, which eventually wants to carry crew inside Starship for missions to Mars.

“Starship landing nominal!” tweeted founder Elon Musk triumphantly, after the last four tries ended in big explosions.

“Nominal” means normal in the context of spaceflight.

The execution wasn’t quite perfect, with a small fire engulfing the base of the 50 meter- (160 feet-) high rocket, dubbed SN15, shortly after landing.

SpaceX webcaster John Insprucker explained this was “not unusual with the methane fuel we’re using,” adding engineers were still working out design issues.

The flames were quickly put out with water cannons, footage showed.

Earlier, the rocket took off at around 5:25 pm local time (2225 GMT) from the Starbase in Boca Chica in southern Texas, reached an altitude of 10 kilometers (6 miles) and performed a series of maneuvers, including a horizontal descent called a “belly flop.””

Comment: “wasn’t quite perfect” Say what? Well, pilgrim turcopoles, I will admit to momentary disquiet at the sight of the small fire burning at the foot of the Starship. But, having learned from their last experience with a fire like that post-landing, SpaceX had installed a sprinkler system on the LZ for the purpose of extinguishing the flames.

Good work Elon! Good work. pl

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7 Responses to SN15 after landing

  1. ace says:

    I gotta say, the whole landing regime is not something I would want to experience, with the damn thing in more or less free fall until flipping around and igniting the jets moments before encountering the ground.

    Then again, in 1920, I’m sure no one who might have been able to witness a 747 landing in a thunderstorm would be full of enthusiasm either.

    Brave new world. Or is that ‘worlds’?

  2. Cofer says:

    I’m afraid that Musk is about to find out that the current junta’s favorite space explorer is Bezos. On the bright side, future inhabitants of the Moon and Mars will have a better shot at getting packages loaded with Chinese junk delivered to their celestial doorsteps.

    • d74 says:

      Appreciated humour.

      When choosing between Jeff and Elon , I only bet when I know the outcome in advance. Control of jeff’s blog is probably of interest to the decision maker.

      For Chinese lunar or martian junk deliveries: defeatist you are. (!)

  3. Harlan Easley says:

    Quite impressive.

  4. sbin says:

    Build stuff
    Break it
    Build it better.
    Very impressive bit of engineering.
    SpaceX is doing amazing things.
    Think the satellite constellation is another wonderful project.

  5. The Twisted Genius says:

    This was done with just three Raptor engines. The Starship booster is designed to use 42 Raptors. This is probably the sea level Raptors. The Raptors for space travel, lunar and Mars landings are designed for zero atmosphere use. It will be interesting to see how fast the Starship tests ramp up to the 42 engine booster and the zero atmosphere Raptors on the Starship itself.

  6. aka says:

    Nice to see SpaceX is having sucess with their “throw-away-prototyping”+iterative development appraoch. Seems crazy that others do not adopt it.

    While Starship have risky landings, they immediately do not need to make the landings human rated for outer space missions. Transfer of astranauts in orbit can work.

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