<Editor's Pick> With SN15's successful landing, will humans get closer to Mars?

May 12, 2021

After thrusting, climbing, and crossing the highest point by 10 kilometers, the SN15 began its dive, landing flip, deceleration, and eventual safe landing.

The SN15 took off from the company's test site in Boca Chica, Texas, at 6:24 a.m. Beijing time on May 6, and the entire test took about six minutes, after which the SN15 successfully landed in its designated position on the test site. After several failures, SN15 became the first starship to achieve a percent soft landing. Although a fire similar to SN10's occurred at the base of the rocket after landing, the remote-controlled fire suppression system was able to extinguish the fire in just a few minutes during this test, avoiding a repeat of the failure.

Shortly after SN15's successful landing, Musk tweeted, “Starship landing nominal!”. The success of the Starship test signifies that SpaceX has mastered the critical safe landing technology that will drive the next phase of Starship development.

At the same time, the successful test flight of SN15 may have come as a timely surprise to SpaceX in the midst of a 100-day adjudication period by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).