SpaceX completes Starhopper test with methane rocket engine briefly ignited

Spread the love

SpaceX first ignited the Raptor methane rocket engine at the Starhopper. This is a small test version of Starship’s second rocket stage, SpaceX’s large, under-development rocket. The test was successful.

Elon Musk reports on Twitter that it was a tethered hop, with Starhopper still attached to the launch pad of the Texas Boca Chica launch facility. The relatively small test rocket has taken off a bit, but it is only a few centimeters. This ignited a single Raptor engine, but the plan is to eventually equip Starhopper with three Raptor engines, so that he can get much further off the ground.

The NASA spaceflight website has published a short video showing the ignition of the Starhopper’s rocket engine. This Starhopper test rocket is not only used to try the Raptor engines, but ultimately also to test vertical landings, for example. To this end, Starhopper has the three landing legs that Starship will eventually get.

SpaceX has already started building the first prototype of the full Starship rocket. This huge, fully reusable rocket will eventually consist of two stages: a large booster stage called Super Heavy and the second rocket stage called Starship. This second stage is basically a spaceship that should eventually land vertically on Mars.

Starhopper’s brief ignition briefly ignites the Raptor rocket engine. Starship will receive 7 of these and Super Heavy 31. SpaceX has deliberately opted for a methane rocket engine, because methane is more suitable for engines that are reused than, for example, kerosene. This is partly why Blue Origin, the space company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, will also use methane engines in the upcoming New Glenn rocket.

You might also like