Watch for a Brief Second a Close-Up of the SpaceX Starhopper Firing Its Engine

SpaceX Starhopper firing Raptor engine 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX
It’s been a busy week for SpaceX, as the company is getting ready for the second launch of the Falcon Heavy, and has also begun the first tests of the Starhopper machine.
On Wednesday last week, SpaceX fired the Raptor engine of the Starhopper for the first time, sending the bullet-shaped craft up into the air. Not by much, as it was tethered to the ground, but up anyway.

Such a historic moment for SpaceX would have deserved a far better coverage, perhaps, but all we got at the time was a murky video showing nothing but flames and smoke coming from where the Hopper was supposed to be.

Then, over the weekend, a GIF-like video was published by Elon Musk, showing another instance of engine ignition, this time on Friday and from underneath the machine. “Starhopper just lifted off & hit tether limits!” Musk tweeted.

The Starhopper is the precursor of the Starship, the second crew-capable capsule in the SpaceX lineup. It will be used just as the Grasshopper was used to test the take-off and landing capabilities of the current generation of rockets.

The Starship that will be built at the end of the development process Starhopper is a part of will likely change space exploration forever. Starship is meant to be humanity’s first true interplanetary vessel, one that will not only take humans to the Moon, but also to Mars.

To be launched when ready on top the Big Falcon Rocket, Starship was at one point scheduled to fly towards Mars by 2022, carrying cargo in preparation for human arrival about two years later. It’s unclear at this point how far behind schedule SpaceX is in relation with these targets.

The Starship could also be used closer to home, as a means of transportation that makes use of ballistics.

Launched from one location, the ship is supposed to be falling on another so fast that it could complete a 4,000 km trip (2,485 miles) from Los Angeles to New York in 25 minutes, a significant drop from the current five and a half hours flight time.
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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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