We have launch! Watch the moment when the Elon Musk Starhopper 500 FEET prototype rises above the launch pad and returns safely to a cloud of smoke as it completes its most ambitious test to date
- StarXper from SpaceX tried a 150 meter (500 ft) float test on Tuesday afternoon after a day's delay
- First attempt was stopped at the last minute on Monday evening because & # 39; igniters had to be inspected & # 39;
- The prototype was launched without problems on Tuesday evening, just after 5 p.m. local time
Elon Musk & # 39; s Starhopper has taken another important step towards reality.
The prototype ship left the test site of Boca Chica, Texas just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday evening. local time (6 p.m. ET) for his 150-meter free flight test.
While it was first covered in smoke and flames, the vehicle appeared in the form of a water tower moments later and saw it rise high above the ground without obstacles to the view.
The successful test comes after SpaceX was forced to stop its attempt on Monday to allow a last-minute inspection of the vessel's igniters.
Musk tweeted his congratulations to the SpaceX team not long after Tuesday's performance was completed.
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Elon Musk & # 39; s Starhopper has taken another important step towards reality. The prototype ship left the test site of Boca Chica, Texas just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday evening. local time (6 p.m. ET) for his 150 meter free flight test
While it was first covered in smoke and flames, the vehicle appeared in the shape of a water tower and later saw you rise high above the ground without impediments to the view
SpaceX received FAA approval to run its test as soon as Monday, according to NASA Spaceflight, although it eventually pushed the flight back one day to check if everything was okay. Prior to the test, locals were warned that windows could crack due to malfunctions.
Due to the cruelty of the Starhopper methane-powered Raptor engine, local residents were asked to either move to another area temporarily or to go outside during the test to prevent them from being in for an & # 39; overpressure event & # 39 ;.
Tuesday's test is the biggest milestone ever.
Starhopper – a squat and strikingly large ship – reached its first free height earlier this summer, when it was floating 65 feet (20 meters) above the ground.
The successful test comes after SpaceX was forced to stop its attempt last night to allow a final minute inspection of the vessel's igniters
SpaceX received FAA approval to run its test as soon as Monday, according to NASA Spaceflight, although it eventually pushed the flight back one day to check if everything was okay. It can be seen on the launch platform prior to his successful flight
After the successful test, according to NASA Spaceflight, Starhopper will be converted into a vertical test of the Raptor engines of SpaceX and eventually even larger prototypes of the coveted Musk spacecraft.
Starhopper is the test vehicle for SpaceX's ultimate goal to develop a slimmer vessel, called the Starship, which Musk hopes will eventually take human passengers into space on a number of missions.
Just a few miles away from the Starhopper test site, SpaceX employees have been busy building the next vessel's prototype, the MK1, which will eventually attempt to make longer journeys in the air.
The successful tests of SpaceX represented an important step for the company and for Starhopper, which never flew into the air without tether before the launch last month
Raptor engines are used to propel the Starhopper, which are also made by Musk & # 39; s SpaceX
Musk said in July that the MK1 could take a flight within the next two to three months and is aiming for a flight up to 20 to 30 kilometers later this year.
A simultaneous team in Florida is also building a comparable MK2 with a different design and specifications.
The two teams compete and work together in an effort to accelerate the development of the future ship.
Ultimately, Musk hopes that the company's Starship could help people reach Mars for the first time and has set an optimistic timeline for when the experimental vessel could do this.
The first manned Red Planet mission for the rocket and the 100-passenger Starship could come as early as the mid-2020s if development and testing went well, Musk said.
Additional missions may even include tourist trips to the moon by 2024, according to the CEO.
Completing a successful mission to the moon would also mean a step in Musk & # 39; s other vision of traveling to Mars.
WHAT IS ELON MUSK & # 39; S & # 39; BFR & # 39 ;?
The BFR (Big F *** ing Rocket), now known as Starship, will complete all missions and is smaller than the one that Musk announced in 2016.
The SpaceX CEO said the rocket would make its first voyage to the red planet in 2022 and only transport cargo, followed by a manned mission in 2024, claiming that other SpaceX products & # 39; cannibalized & # 39; would be to pay for it.
The rocket would be partially reusable and could fly directly from Earth to Mars.
Once built, Musk believes the rocket could be used for traveling on Earth – saying that passengers could get anywhere within an hour.
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