SpaceX, a private American space company, has successfully launched and landed its Starship spacecraft from a launch site in Texas. In the three previous attempts the rocket exploded during the landing phase.
The 50-metre tall reusable rocket rose to an altitude of almost 10 km over the Gulf of Mexico, then turned and descended in an upright position back to its launch pad. A small fire after touchdown was quickly put out.
The Starship rocket has three engines and can carry 100 tons of cargo into space. It is scheduled to bring NASA astronauts to the moon in the next few years. The rocket is also part of a more powerful system that will one day bring astronauts to Mars.
The successful mission came on the 60th anniversary of the first American, Alan Shepard, to travel into space.
SpaceX is owned by Elon Musk, an American entrepreneur, who plans to set up an American colony on Mars.
- altitude = how high something goes up
- anniversary = date on which something important happened years ago
- attempts = to try to make something work
- cargo = machines, instruments and other objects
- descend = to come down
- entrepreneur = businessman
- successfully = if something works the way it should
- launch = here: to send a rocket into space
- launch pad = place from where a rocket is sent into space
- launch site = place from where a rocket is sent into space
- mission = here: flight
- owned = belongs to
- previous = earlier
- reusable = something that you can use over and over again
- schedule = plan
- set up = create
- upright position = vertical; standing up