Space

Update: SpaceX successfully landed Starship for the first time – before it exploded

SpaceX is attempting another launch of its SN10 Starship prototype – the rocket the company hopes will eventually help take it to Mars.

Previous attempts to launch a Starship prototype around 10 km (6.2 miles) into the air and then land it again have ended in explosions on the landing pad.

You can watch the launch preparations live below, courtesy of NASA Spaceflight:

It’s the second launch attempt on 3 March 2021 out of SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, South Texas, after a last-minute issue caused today’s first attempt to be aborted.

Elon Musk explained an onboard computer received data that an engine was producing more thrust than anticipated, as ArsTechnica reports.

That can be adjusted in the flight software, which is why another launch attempt has been lined up so quickly.

While previous Starship prototypes have launched successfully, upon landing the rockets have exploded. This time around, Musk has estimated that the Starship prototype has about a 60 percent chance of surviving the landing attempt.

In order to cut the cost of space travel dramatically, SpaceX wants to make the rockets reusable, just like the Falcon 9 model which has taken both cargo and passengers successfully to the International Space Station.

We’ll report on the status of the launch attempt after it happens – watch this space.

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