SpaceX's Starship makes first successful landing

SpaceX landed the first successful touchdown of its Starship rocket in south Texas on Wednesday, after four previous attempts ended in explosions.

The feat marks a huge milestone for SpaceX and its CEO Elon Musk, who want their rocket to carry astronauts and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond.

The Starship SN15 prototype blasted off from its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, along the Gulf Coast, hitting its planned maximum altitude of 6 miles.

It then hovered momentarily before flying nose-down back to Earth under aerodynamic control.

Steering itself back into vertical position, the 16-story, three-engine rocket descended towards a gentle touchdown on its landing gear.

Flames continued to blaze at the base of the rocket after the engines shut off, but were put out by an automated fire-suppression system.

Four previous test flights of Starship prototypes all blasted off successfully, but later blew up into pieces.

Musk celebrated Wednesday's successful landing on Twitter, writing quote: "Starship landing nominal!"

The complete Starship rocket, which will stand 394 feet tall, is at the center of Musk's ambitions to make human space travel more affordable and routine.

The first orbital Starship flight is planned for year's end. Musk has also said he intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon on board the Starship in 2023.