Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

SpaceX's 'Starhopper' Starship Prototype Just Aced Its 1st Hop, Elon Musk Says

The Raptor engine undergoing test-firings at SpaceX’s Rocket Development and Test Facility near McGregor Texas. Credit SpaceX The Raptor engine undergoing test-firings at SpaceX’s Rocket Development and Test Facility near McGregor Texas. Credit SpaceX
Sandra Phillips | 07 April, 2019, 07:56

SpaceX is now working on receiving regulatory approvals to fly from Boca Chica and Cape Canaveral, where the company is building both the Starship and the Super Heavy. Founder Elon Musk shared some fresh fiery test footage this weekend, declaring that "Starhopper just lifted off and hit tether limits!" The tests entail firing up the engines attached to the bottom of the vehicle, The Verge reported.

Spaceflight company SpaceX test-fired the engines of its prototype Starship vehicle on Wednesday at its test facility in Boca Chica, in the U.S. state of Texas, the Verge reported, in a "static fire" configuration that saw the spacecraft tethered to the ground. No, Musk first unveiled the vehicle in 2016 at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the company's fans have been watching avidly from afar as ground crews installed the first Raptor engine and tested out the propulsion system's plumbing. This will help the Starship's test version to fly in the atmosphere but at low altitudes until it gradually returns back to the ground. The site posted another look at the hop from outside the road blocks around the facility.

SpaceX calls the prototype vehicle in question a "Starhopper", and it is meant to test various technologies that the company plans to use in a theoretical future spacecraft, called Starship, that will travel to space (according to CEO Elon Musk, the Moon and Mars, specifically). "Suborbital flights with three".

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The Starhopper prototype is constructed of stainless steel and has a diameter of approximately 30ft (9m). This hop test will, therefore, will be a significant milestone for Starship's development, and proof that it is very much real.

The orbital Starship version of the rocket is targeting flights in 2020.

The engine that will go into the ship, the Raptor, is homegrown by SpaceX.

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