Huge success for Elon Musk and SpaceX

SpaceX's huge Starship rocket achieved its first landing during a test flight, AFP reported.

As it descended over the Indian Ocean, northwest of Australia, chunks of fiery debris tore off the spacecraft, dramatic on-board camera video showed, but it eventually held on and survived re-entry.

“Despite a damaged flap, Starship made it all the way to a soft landing in the ocean!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on the X social network.

"Today was a great day for the future of humanity as a space civilization!" he added.

The most powerful rocket ever built took off from the company's starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, at 7:50 a.m. local time, before soaring into space and halfway around the globe, taking about an hour and five minutes.

With its reusable design, the Starship spacecraft is essential to realizing Musk's ambitious vision of colonizing the Red Planet and turning humanity into a multi-planetary species.

Meanwhile, NASA has contracted a modified version to serve as the final vehicle to land astronauts on the moon's surface as part of the Artemis program later this decade.

Three previous test flights ended with the destruction of the Starship, which the company says is an acceptable loss given the rapid approach to developing the technology. | BGNES