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The SN15 rocket, a 165-foot leviathan, was launched from the company's Boca Chica testing facility in Texas at 5.25pm local time yesterday and managed to get 10 kilometres up into the air, emerge from the top of a cloud that had previously been obscuring it, then descend horizontally before righting itself at the last second by firing the engines.
It's a seriously cool feat of engineering.
You wouldn't believe that a huge stainless steel rocket could successfully manage to stick such a delicate and soft landing, but it did.
That's more than can be said for some of the other tests they've had, where the rockets have been blown to smithereens either upon or just after landing.
After this one came down there were a few moments of tentative waiting as flames were spotted coming from the bottom of the machine.
Those fires were put out by remotely controlled water hoses, and it seems as if everything went pretty much to plan.
SN10, which was tested on 3 March, definitely didn't have as smooth a landing as this one. It blew up upon landing and was never seen again.
Naturally, Musk will have been delighted to see his project finally manage to stick a landing. After those fires had been extinguished - and with them, the threat of explosion - he tweeted: "Starship landing nominal!"
Starship landing nominal!- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2021
SN15 is the fifth go that SpaceX has had at trying to get one of their prototype spacecraft to land properly in less than five months.
All of the others have - you've guessed it - exploded and been scattered across the deserts of South Texas.
However, this one - according to Musk - featured 'hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software and engine'.
Even though they've managed to land one of the craft safely, they're still a good long way from heading straight for the red planet.
Before they can start thinking about any of that they'll have to get the Starship craft into orbit, which will require the boost from a second rocket called Super Heavy.
That will mean adding even more fuel to the potential fire, so there will no doubt be obstacles to overcome with that phase of the project as well.
However, it's a positive for them that they've managed to get it up and down without causing a massive fireball.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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