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In case you missed it, the SpaceX Starship prototype "SN10" made a spectacular ten kilometer flight yesterday and landed almost flawlessly.

After an aborted launch earlier in the afternoon, SN10 lifted off a little after 5:00 P.M. Central Time, and flew to an altitude of about 33,000 feet, or a little over 6 miles.

You may watch the flight and landing in the SpaceX video above, which includes expert commentary by rocket engineer and renowned SpaceX narrator John Insprucker. The actual ignition and liftoff starts about 5:40 into the video timeline, but the first five minutes are certainly worth watching, simply for the beautiful SpaceX photography in the late afternoon light, with the condensation clouds streaming from the machine..

The event is absolutely incredible to watch, with the climb to 10km on three Raptor engines, cutting off two engines in sequence, then hovering for a few moments on just a single engine (straight upright at 33,000 feet!), followed by the fin-controlled "belly-flop" and free fall maneuvering back to the landing pad. Just before reaching the ground, the three Raptor engines reignite as the craft rights itself, rapidly followed by two of the engines shutting off, and a single-engine landing.

As the ship lands, you can see a fire emerge at the bottom, which hasn't been seen in previous flights. Though I haven't found a definitive explanation, some sources speculate that there was a methane fuel leak. After landing (in the video below) you can see a remote spray nozzle dispensing water or chemicals toward the base, apparently trying to keep the flame-up under control. This is followed by a gigantic explosion of the ship blowing it high into the air.

The media, predictable as always, pounced on the explosion, as if it were a great disaster, crying with the tone of, "What if there were people on board?"

Remember that these are prototypes, simply test flights, each flight using new and refined technology, structure, techniques and software. It amazes me that Elon Musk and SpaceX are not bashful at all in being willing to share the excitement of their tests, which do sometimes includes failures, going so far as live-streaming their own extremely high quality video from several vantage points, including video from inside the engine housing looking down. It's just awesome to watch!

Also, remember that this is a HUGE spaceship, about 160 feet tall, with a nearly 10 foot diameter, designed eventually to be launched upon the Super Heavy Booster (around 230 feet tall itself, with around 30 Raptor engines powering it to space. SpaceX is developing a system designed to fly people, fuel and supplies, not only into orbit, but to Mars as well, with the ability to reenter Earth's atmosphere, land of the craft, then be able to quickly refuel and re-launch in a short amount of time.

And I believe they will soon have the system functioning reliably and as a useable platform, just as they have with the Falcon 9 system, upon which government and companies worldwide rely upon to get their satellites into orbit flawlessly, as well as astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

Several other Starship prototypes are in currently in various stages of build, as is the first iteration of the Super Heavy Booster, so many more exciting tests are soon to come, with SN11 reportedly ready to move to the launch pad for static engine test firing, followed soon by another flight.

It's all ground-breaking history in the making, and a privilege to watch SpaceX achievements take place that "conventional wisdom" said couldn't be done.

Visit the SpaceX Starship website for more information on the vehicle, and why this is such a huge deal for space fans and the future of space exploration.

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