SpaceX Starship’s prototype vehicle “Starhopper” engine lights up for the first time
SpaceX just gave first actual prove that they are working on “The Starship” — a spaceship that will lift tourism to space. The company has built a prototype vehicle called “The Starhopper” that will be used to test various Starship technologies. As of now, SpaceX has ignited the prototype’s onboard engine for the very first time.
The ignition test called “Static fire” was conducted, meaning the vehicle didn’t liftoff or anything but remained attached to the ground. This test was conducted at the company’s Boca Chica facility — the place where SpaceX has been working on the prototype and which the company, in the future, may turn into a commercial launch site.
SpaceX Raptor Engine Test (Source: SpaceX)
As reported, the Starhopper just had one engine attached to itself, if not tethered, it would have provided first hops. According to Space CEO Elon Musk’s tweet, it’s possible that the Starhopper may have lifted a bit of the ground.
Although the test was conducted with only one engine, SpaceX has plans to put at least a three in the future tests whereas in the actual Starship seven engines will be present. The three engines should provide Starhopper enough thrust to lift off to low atmosphere altitudes and then just like the Falcon Heavy, slowly land back on the ground — Hops.
The engine that was ignited was the new raptor engine, same which the company has been testing for a few months now. This same engine or maybe a next version of it along with the Super Heavy Booster will be used to power the so-called stainless steel Starship — lifting a weight of around a hundred thousand kilograms into low-Earth orbit.
Of the future, it is still not known, what next tests SpaceX has in mind for the Starhopper, but will know soon as the launch date of Starship sometime in 2020 is nearing.
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