Starship SN15 Successfully Launches & Lands

Space Coast, FL – SpaceX has done it! They have successfully launched and landed their Starship SN15 prototype. Recently the latest Starship on the launch pad in Starbase, TX (Boca Chica, Texas) under went a series of tests.

Starship SN15 sits on Suborbital Launch Pad B at Starbase, Texas, USA
Starship SN15 sits on Suborbital Launch Pad B at Starbase, Texas, USA | Photo: SpaceX

Starship SN15 Testing

The series of tests SN15 had under gone was one cryogenic proof test, which happened on April 12, 2021. Then followed by two static fire tests. The first static fire test of three SpaceX Raptor engines happened on April 26, 2021. And then another 2nd static fire test was performed the very next day on April 27, 2021.

SN15 prior to lift off on Suborbital Launch Pad B
SN15 prior to lift off on Suborbital Launch Pad B | Image: GSL Live Stream/Host: SpaceX

The Launch

On May 5, 2021 SpaceX was green on the board for a launch. Starship SN15 lifted off into the clouds and preformed all expected tasks. Similar to previous high-altitude flight tests of Starship, SN15 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km (6.21 mi) in altitude. SN15 performed a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.

Three Raptor Engines lifting SN15 into the air
Three Raptor Engines lifting SN15 into the air | Image: GSL Live Stream/Host: SpaceX

The Starship prototype descended under active aerodynamic control. This was accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps were actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enabled precise landing at the intended location. SN15’s Raptor engines reignited as the vehicle performed the landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down for a nominal landing on the pad.

Landing burns ignition by two Raptor engines | Image: GSL Live Stream/Host: SpaceX

The test flights of Starship are about improving an understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system. So that it may be designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration interplanetary flights. And thus help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.

We'd like to wish a VERY Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on Starship SN15’s successful and perfect launch, flight and landing!

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