May 5, 2021 - Science
SpaceX launches and lands a starship prototype
SpaceX launched its fifth test of a Starship prototype on Wednesday and managed to stick the landing.
Why it matters: SpaceX hopes that Starship will eventually be used to deliver payloads and people to deep space destinations like the Moon and Mars.
What's happening: The Starship prototype, named SN15, was an upgraded version of earlier Starships launched by the Elon Musk-founded company.
- Those earlier launches ended in failures of some kind or another, including exploding during descent, exploding on impact with the ground and exploding after a hard landing.
- But Wednesday's test was a success, with Musk tweeting, "Starship landing nominal!"
The intrigue: SpaceX just received a contract from NASA to continue to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon using Starship.
- That contract is expected to be a boon for its development program and could bring the rocket and spacecraft under more scrutiny from the space agency.