The Elon Musk Starhopper prototype completes its first test hop



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Elon Musk's Star Ship prototype came to life for the first time when SpaceX completed a successful test on the powerful Raptor of a 60-foot-high stainless steel rocket, causing it to quickly rise from the launch pad .

Smoke clouds and a blaze of fire can be seen erupting from the prototype of the vehicle, called Starhopper, during the static fire at the SpaceX test site in southern Texas on Wednesday night.

Momentary takeoff occurred around 8:56 p.m. (ET) yesterday and spawned a deafening roar that was so loud it rattled the windows of nearby houses.

"Starhopper completed the bound jumper," Musk confirmed in a tweet on Wednesday. & # 39; All green systems & # 39;

Although the action did not last long, the test jump serves as an important step toward Musk's broader plan to send humans on a mission to the moon.

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SpaceX completed its first successful test of Starhopper (photo). Momentary takeoff occurred around 8:56 p.m. (ET) yesterday and spawned a deafening roar that was so loud it rattled the windows of nearby houses

SpaceX completed its first successful test of Starhopper (photo). Momentary takeoff occurred around 8:56 p.m. (ET) yesterday and spawned a deafening roar that was so loud it rattled the windows of nearby houses

WHAT IS A TEST OF? HOP?

SpaceX's Starship prototype, called Starhopper, will go through a number of tests to make sure your systems work properly.

The first of these tests, called the & quot; jump & quot; test, is simply a short static fire test.

During a hops test, Starhopper's only Raptor engine will fire.

However, viewers will not be able to see much, if any, of the action.

The jump involves a very low altitude demonstration, in which the aircraft rises a few meters from the ground.

Elon Musk's rocket firm will also test ground systems and load them with propellants.

SpaceX will continue to conduct more tests on the Starhopper prototype at its facility near Brownsville, Texas.

The company is expected to attach two additional Raptor engines in the coming months, which will allow the prototype vehicle to make significantly larger jumps.

The tests will be conducted similarly to when SpaceX tested a test version of its Falcon 9 rocket, called Grasshopper, in 2012 and 2013.

Once this is completed, SpaceX is likely to try more test jumps to ensure that the engines operate as they should.

The Raptor engine is a critical piece of hardware that will be used to power Starship, which, once it has seven engines installed, will be able to produce a whopping 3 million pounds of thrust.

While SpaceX continues to work on the spacecraft, it is also preparing to test the fire of another rocket.

The company is scheduled to conduct a fire test of the Falcon Heavy's Booster Block 5 today, with a launch window scheduled between 6:00 pm and midnight (ET).

Smoke clouds and a blaze of fire can be seen erupting from the prototype of the vehicle, called Starhopper, during the static fire at the SpaceX test site in southern Texas on Wednesday night.

Although the action did not last long, the test jump serves as an important step toward Musk's broader plan to send humans on a mission to the moon.

Smoke clouds and a blaze of fire can be seen erupting from the prototype of the vehicle, called Starhopper, during the static fire at the SpaceX test site in southern Texas on Wednesday night. In the photo is Starhopper on the launch pad yesterday

In the photo, there is a map of SpaceX's Boca Chica testing site, not far from Brownsville, Texas. Inset is a chart detailing the various checkpoints on Brazos Island where the SpaceX launch site for the prototype Starhopper vehicle is located

In the photo, there is a map of SpaceX's Boca Chica testing site, not far from Brownsville, Texas. Inset is a chart detailing the various checkpoints on Brazos Island where the SpaceX launch site for the prototype Starhopper vehicle is located

The Block 5 booster is intended to replace the original Falcon 9 rocket and must be reused several times.

If the test fire goes well, SpaceX will take off the Falcon Heavy – essentially three Falcon 9 rockets tied together – from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

On the rocket will be Arabsat 6A, a Riyahd communications satellite based in Saudi Arabia, which will provide television, internet and telephone services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Prior to the static fire on Wednesday, SpaceX was building the Starhopper at its testing site in Texas, installing its only Raptor engine and loading tanks of liquid oxygen and liquid methane into the vehicle.

Not long after, SpaceX employees began the process of moving Starhopper to the launch pad in preparation for the jumping test.

The test site was teeming with activity as engineers moved the glowing spacecraft to the launch pad and installed their only Raptor engine that packs twice the firing power of SpaceX's older Merlin engines.

A set of aerial images showed SpaceX's progress in preparation for the suborbital hop tests, which were scheduled to happen last month but were later postponed after several days of bad weather.

Prior to the test, the Federal Aviation Administration warned of flight restrictions in the area between 10:00 am and 10:00 am. (ET) and 7:00 p.m. (ET) on March 25, 26 and 27.

In preparation for the potential test fire, SpaceX had moved the suborbital Starhopper vehicle to a launch pad.

However, viewers both on the ground and from far away could not see much, if any, the action during the hops test.

SpaceX employees move the 60-foot-high Starhopper prototype to the launch pad at their testing site in Boca Chica, Texas, on March 8. The company has been testing and equipped the vehicle with a single Raptor engine in recent weeks.

SpaceX employees move the 60-foot-high Starhopper prototype to the launch pad at their testing site in Boca Chica, Texas, on March 8. The company has been testing and equipped the vehicle with a single Raptor engine in recent weeks.

A new set of aerial imagery shows SpaceX's progress in preparation for suborbital jump testing. The tests took place late Wednesday night and mark the first of what will likely involve several test jumps for its three Raptor engines.

A new set of aerial imagery shows SpaceX's progress in preparation for suborbital jump testing. The tests took place late Wednesday night and mark the first of what will likely involve several test jumps for its three Raptor engines.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson confirmed to the Brownsville Herald that Starhopper had been transferred to the launch pad in preparation for the tests.

"SpaceX will conduct checkouts of newly installed ground systems and conduct a static fire test in the coming days," Gleeson told the Brownsville Herald.

"Although the prototype is designed to perform suborbital flights, or hops, powered by the SpaceX Raptor engine, the vehicle will be moored during the initial tests and the jumps will not be visible externally."

During the tests, the Starhopper will be pumped with liquid methane and oxygen propellant and will use one of SpaceX's powerful Raptor engines.

It is expected that the prototype will only rise a few meters off the ground, which means that it will not be a real take off, but rather a brief flight.

A livestream was created by SPadre.com showing a vision of the Starhopper prototype on Boca Chica website.

The Brownsville Herald also reported that State Highway 4, which leads to Boca Chica Beach, is currently closed to the public in anticipation of planned testing even today.

The news of the funnel tests comes after Musk tweeted earlier this week that Starhopper tests "hopefully" will be held in the next few days.

If the jump tests are as planned, this will serve as an important step toward Musk's broader plan to send humans on a mission to the moon. However, viewers on the ground and from afar will not be able to see much of the action

If the jump tests are as planned, this will serve as an important step toward Musk's broader plan to send humans on a mission to the moon. However, viewers on the ground and from afar will not be able to see much of the action

The pictured is a separate component of the Starhopper prototype and what appears to be sections of a nose that can be installed on the Space Ship. Musk said the company will not install a new nose in the funnel after an earlier incident.

The pictured is a separate component of the Starhopper prototype and what appears to be sections of a nose that can be installed on the Space Ship. Musk said the company will not install a new nose in the funnel after an earlier incident.

Plans for the tests were first seen in a SpaceX flyer posted on Reddit.

When asked if tests would begin this week, Musk replied on a tweet: "I hope so. Always many engine and stage integration problems. The first hops will take off, but only badly.

Musk's tweet seemed to suggest that the company is currently working to integrate Starhopper and its new Raptor engine, which SpaceX unveiled for the first time in February.

The Starhopper test vehicle will feature a Raptor engine against the Starship final version, which must be equipped with three powerful Raptor engines.

As part of its first test, SpaceX will ensure that the Starship prototype and its Raptor engine can take off and land smoothly.

Musk added in a later tweet that the company will not build a new nose for Starhopper after the device was damaged by a series of strong gusts of wind at its Texas testing site in January.

"No need," wrote Musk. "What you see being built is the Starship orbital vehicle."

Residents near the SpaceX test site in Brownsville, Texas, meanwhile, have seen pamphlets posted by the company alerting them to upcoming tests.

The pamphlet claims Starhopper's tests could begin as soon as this week.

"During these tests, SpaceX will establish a security zone perimeter in coordination with the local police," the leaflet said.

"The signage will be in place prior to testing to alert the community of any temporary closures of Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach."

The Starhopper will be pumped with liquid methane and oxygen propellant and will use one of SpaceX's powerful Raptor engines. The site is viewed above on Thursday

The Starhopper will be pumped with liquid methane and oxygen propellant and will use one of SpaceX's powerful Raptor engines. The site is viewed above on Thursday

Elon Musk said that SpaceX chose to omit a nosecone of the Starhopper prototype (photo on Wednesday) after being knocked off the spacecraft as a result of strong gusts of wind earlier this year.

Elon Musk said that SpaceX chose to omit a nosecone of the Starhopper prototype (photo on Wednesday) after being knocked off the spacecraft as a result of strong gusts of wind earlier this year.

In addition, Musk has shown what will be a crucial element of the Starship rocket.

The CEO of SpaceX has published a video demonstrating tests of the rocket's thermal shield, which will prevent it from burning after reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

In doing so, the rocket is better equipped for immediate reuse.

"Starship needs to be ready to fly again immediately after landing," Musk said in a tweet. "Zero Remodeling".

The heat shield is made of hexagonal shaped tiles that are designed to prevent hot gas from entering when the rocket returns to the Earth's surface.

Musk said the "hot-white" sections hit a maximum temperature of 1650 Kelvin or 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The tiles will be installed on the "windward side" of the rocket and there is no "shield needed on the leeward side," Musk added.

Plans for the tests were first seen in a SpaceX pamphlet published on Reddit (photo). The pamphlet says the company could begin testing its Starhopper prototype rocket so this week

Plans for the tests were first seen in a SpaceX pamphlet published on Reddit (photo). The pamphlet says the company could begin testing its Starhopper prototype rocket so this week

The Raptor engine is a critical piece of hardware that will be used to power Starship, which, once it has seven engines installed, will be able to produce a whopping 3 million pounds of thrust. In the photo is the impression of a Starship artist

The Raptor engine is a critical piece of hardware that will be used to power Starship, which, once it has seven engines installed, will be able to produce a whopping 3 million pounds of thrust. In the photo is the impression of a Starship artist

In January, the company unveiled footage of its fully assembled Rockwell test rocket.

"This is for suborbital testing of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing)," Musk said in a tweet last month.

"The orbital version is taller, has coarser skins (not wrinkles) and a gently curved nose section."

The model he shared is expected to be used to test short launches and landings.

Musk hopes to hold a manned mission with tourists until the moon in 2024.

Completing a successful mission to the moon would mark an incremental step in Musk's other vision of traveling to Mars.

WHAT IS THE BFR OF ELON MUSK?

The BFR (Big F *** ing Rocket), now known as Starship, will complete all missions and will be smaller than what Musk announced in 2016.

The CEO of SpaceX said the rocket would make its first trip to the red planet in 2022, carrying only cargo, followed by a manned mission in 2024 and claiming that other SpaceX products would be "cannibalized" to pay for it.

The rocket would be partially reusable and able to fly directly from Earth to Mars.

Once built, Musk believes the rocket could be used for travel on Earth – saying that passengers could get anywhere in less than an hour.

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