This is the company’s eighth Starship prototype (dubbed SN8). He flew much higher than the “jump” of 150 meters the fifth iteration made in August and the sixth made in September – each with a single engine. (SN7 didn’t fly; it deliberately exploded as part of a pressure test.) SpaceX founder Elon Musk previously estimated only a third chance of success that SN8, armed with three engines, would fly and land safely.
A giant among rockets: SpaceX unveiled the world’s first spacecraft in September 2019, on the 11th anniversary of the company’s first rocket launch. It is a monster, measuring over 50 meters tall, and weighs over 1,400 tons (1,270 metric tons) when loaded with fuel. In its final form, the vehicle will serve as a six-engine second-stage thruster that sits atop a giant first-stage thruster, the Super Heavy (currently in development). It will transport more than 100 tonnes of cargo and passengers to distant space destinations.
Like the company’s other large space vehicles, Starship is designed to be reusable, to reduce the overall cost of spaceflight for robotic and crewed missions.