A rocket to fly to Mars successfully took off for the first time, landed and did not explode
Elon Musk's company SpaceX has taken an important step forward in space exploration. The first successful launch of the Starship SN15 spacecraft took place - it first climbed to an altitude of 10 kilometers, and then landed at a cosmodrome in Texas. Writes about it with the BBC.
Starship SN15 is designed for long-distance space flights, including the Moon and Mars.
Four previous attempts to launch Starship for various reasons ended in failure: the ship exploded during landing or while still in the air. One of the prototypes managed to land successfully, but soon thereafter exploded due to the resulting fire.
This time, the SN15 flight went almost without problems.
The ship was able to climb to the required height using three methane-powered Raptor engines. Then the engines turned off, the apparatus went into a horizontal position and began to descend, controlling the position in space with the help of flaps. According to SpaceX's plan, in the future, spaceships will return to Earth from space in this way.
The last stage of the flight - flipping the rocket into a horizontal position and landing - also went according to plan.
After landing, a small fire broke out at the base of the ship, but the fire was quickly extinguished.
The first successful flight of the spacecraft took place just on the 60th anniversary of the first ever flight of an American astronaut into space: on May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard spent 15 minutes in low-earth orbit aboard NASA's Mercury-Redstone-3 spacecraft.
High hopes for Starship
Musk announced his success on Twitter.
"Starship landing went well!" - he wrote.
NASA is showing great interest in the Starship spacecraft and the project as a whole. It was Elon Musk and his company SpaceX who received the right to develop ships for delivering astronauts to the moon. This is planned to be done by the end of this decade.
In the future, Elon Musk's company also intends to send missions to Mars and hopes that Starship will be able to take on board up to 100 people for interplanetary flights.
SpaceX has high hopes for Starship and plans that such devices in the future will replace the proven Falcon rockets, which are now used to send astronauts to the ISS and satellites in low-Earth orbit.
In addition to the rocket launched, the company is working on several more prototypes as part of the Starship project. She is testing various device and motor options.
How it will work
It is assumed that Starship will be installed on a Super Heavy launch vehicle, while the height of the entire structure will be 120 meters.
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The 70-meter Super Heavy will be fueled by 3400 tons of metalox, a mixture of liquid methane and oxygen that powers 28 Raptor engines.
The total thrust will be 72 meganewtons. This is enough to launch a load of 100 or possibly even 150 tons into low-earth orbit.
The Super Heavy is twice the power of the currently heaviest Saturn 5, the Apollo missions on the lunar missions of the 1960s and 1970s.
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