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SpaceX Will Test Its Starhopper Vehicle Next Week

SpaceX Will Test Its Starhopper Vehicle Next Week

The approximately one-minute flight was the rocket's second "untethered" test following a July jump to an altitude of about 65 feet.

This is the second untethered test trip for the Starhopper, and will is meant to be its last, as SpaceX moves forward with construction of its Starship Mk I and Mk II prototypes, which is taking place now and simultaneously at sites in Florida and Texas. The Starhopper completed its second test hop at the company's Boca Chica test facility in Texas today, reaching its highest altitude yet before returning safely to solid ground.

Parts of Elon Musk's dreams is to use the heavy rocket which was earlier known as the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) to help setup shops on Mars and even send artists on a trip around the moon to transporting people around the earth through the earth orbit. After the hop, which lasted around 50 seconds (the GIF above is sped up 2X) it successfully navigated itself to a target landing pad a short distance away. Musk has talked about sending people to Mars as early as the mid-2020s, but that seems a bit overly optimistic.

SpaceX Successfully Completed 500 Feet Starhopper Test Flight
An artist's rendering of Starship in flight. Source SpaceX Flickr

Musk tells Reuters that the vehicle will now become a stationary test stand for carrying out additional ground-based firings of the next-generation Raptor engine. Musk has stated that the company will instead press ahead to flights of prototypes of Starship, designed ultimately to be the reusable upper stage flown on top of a large booster called Super Heavy.

The new photo, which SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon, captures Starhopper just before that touchdown. We just hope the new test becomes successful as the success of projects like this would see a new dawn in the inter-planetary travel for humans. These will be fitted with three engines each and more robust landing gear, capable of test flights up to 20 kilometres high. Both rockets will look more like the promised sci-fi Starship, but they might not have the full complement of Raptor engines. It also may be related to the fact that during the previous test, the engine burn resulted in a small brush fire, which the ground crews were unable to fully quell on their own, prompting them to ask for the assistance of the local fire department.

SpaceX began testing Starhopper in Boca Chica earlier this year. "It's quite robust", Musk said of the vehicle's design in an August 25 tweet. After that, the rocket will be ready to take off from the surface of the Moon or Mars and fly back to Earth.

More news: OPPO have launched the world's first 5G-powered hotel in Australia


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