SpaceX launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship on 6 May 2021, finally nailing a test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars. The previous four tests flights ended in fiery explosions before, during or soon after touchdown at the southeastern tip of Texas, near Brownsville.

What

  1. This latest upgraded version of SpaceX’s full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocketship soared more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) over the Gulf of Mexico before flipping and descending horizontally, and then going vertical again just in time for touchdown.
  2. Success came on the 60th anniversary of the flight of first American in space, Alan Shepard. And it capped a stunning two weeks of achievements for SpaceX: the launch of four more astronauts to the space station for NASA, the nation’s first nighttime crew splashdown since the Apollo moonshots, and a pair of launches for its mini internet satellites.
  3. Less than a month ago, NASA chose SpaceX’s Starship to deliver astronauts to the lunar surface in the next few years. The $3 billion contract was halted last week however, after the losing companies _ Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Dynetics _ protested the selection.