SpaceX Starship Hopper Has a Human Underneath

SpaceX Starship Hopper 9 photos
Photo: Elon Musk/Twitter
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Before the world got to witness the great rockets branded SpaceX take off and successfully come back down to Earth, a lot of testing had to be done. A lot of testing is still being done, as SpaceX Is not done shaping the world of tomorrow.
One of the systems the company is using to test what it takes for a rocket to land intact is called Grasshopper. The 10-story high cylinder is officially called Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle and has been until now used to test the systems that made it into the Falcon 9 rocket.

In a tweet posted on Thursday, Elon Musk revealed how the test rocket works, in a short and exhilarating video that shows the Grasshopper take off, slowly crawl to the set altitude, stop and hover for a few seconds and then gently come back down to the landing pad.

And all to the tune of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.

The video that shows the Grasshopper is rather old, having been uploaded by SpaceX way back in 2013. Musk dug it up and reposted saying that this is pretty much how the Starship Hopper, the rocket that will test the systems for the interplanetary Starship, will work.

Accompanying the video are two shots of a bullet-like rocket, all dressed in stainless steel, that awaits under the sun on the launchpad at SpaceX’s launch complex in South Texas. Beneath it we can see a SpaceX astronaut suit, probably with a human in it.

In another tweet posted in December, Musk said the steel used for the construction of the Starship is different than the one used in early Atlas rockets, treated at cryogenic temperatures to create a material that is better than carbon fiber, judging by strength to weight ratio.

Because of the temperatures the ship will have to endure during its operation, the Starship will not be painted in any way but sent to the sky in a mirror-like finish.

Starship is the latest name for the crew-capable spaceship that over the years was named Interplanetary Transport System or the Big Falcon Rocket.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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