Starbase (Boca Chica), TX – A fascinating piece of information has just come in from an anonymous source, who claims to be a software engineer for SpaceX and an acquaintance of long-time Apogee contributor Harcus Mouse. The source, who we will refer to as "Joe" for ease of identification, sent a screenshot taken from his computer, showing SN15 heading back to the landing zone, with the MechJeb Landing Guidance overlay over it. Apogee head writer Luke Prail talked with Joe, who said:
"Previous landing attempts have come close, but all of the software we coded for the landing have failed in some way. SN10 landed, but it landed hard, so we needed to have a better script for Starship landings. When I found one of my colleagues playing Kerbal Space Program, I suddenly had an idea. I then adapted MechJeb version 2.12.0 to our Starship landing program, and I set up the touchdown speed and coordinates. The belly flop was still done with our custom script, but the landing burn itself was done by MechJeb."
SN15 performed its landing maneuver without a hitch, although one engine didn't appear to ignite. Joe said that it was "not a problem" and that it was "a fault with the hardware." Joe also said that SpaceX will continue to use MechJeb for future landing attempts, beginning with SN20's orbital flight attempt later this year.
Original photo credit: SpaceX