'The Starship has landed': Elon Musk's SpaceX carries out successful rocket test

6 May 2021, 06:45

The rocket successfully took off and landed, after previous tests saw rockets explode
The rocket successfully took off and landed, after previous tests saw rockets explode. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

The futuristic "Starship" has been successfully launched and landed by SpaceX as Elon Musk's bid to send people to Mars took a step closer to being achieved.

The success follows four test flights that ended up exploding before, during or after touchdown in Texas.

This upgraded version of the full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocket ship flew more than six miles over the Gulf of Mexico before flipping and descending horizontally, then aligning to be vertical in time for touchdown.

Launch commentator John Insprucker said: "Starbase Flight Control has confirmed, as you can see on the live video, we are down. The Starship has landed!"

A fire did break out at the base of the 50-metre rocket but it was quickly put out.

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Mr Musk tweeted: "Starship landing nominal!"

It caps of a successful two weeks for SpaceX, which sent four more astronauts to the International Space Station for Nasa and conducted launches for its mini internet satellites.

Nasa has also chosen SpaceX’s Starship to send astronauts to the moon in the coming years, but the 3 billion USD contract (£2.15 billion) was halted after Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Dynetics, the losing companies, protested the selection.