SpaceX May Let Its 'Starhopper' Starship Prototype Off Its Leash Today

Space.com | 4/7/2019 | Mike Wall
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SpaceX's Mars-colonizing tech will take a big leap today (July 16), if all goes according to plan.

The Starhopper spacecraft, a prototype of SpaceX's Starship Mars vehicle, is scheduled to make its first untethered test flight tomorrow, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

Raptor - Engine - Starhopper - Test - Tues

"Raptor engine mounted on Starhopper. Aiming for hover test Tues," Musk said via Twitter Saturday (July 13). "~20 m [meters, 66 feet] up & sideways for first flight. Mk1 Starship hopefully 20 km [12 miles] up in a few months," he added in another tweet.

Starhopper has made two brief test flights to date, both of them while tethered to the ground for safety's sake. Those flights occurred in April at SpaceX's Boca Chica facility, near Brownsville, Texas. The upcoming, untethered flight will also occur at Boca Chica.

Version - Starhopper - SpaceX - Raptor - Engines

This first version of Starhopper features one of SpaceX's advanced, next-generation Raptor engines. SpaceX has been testing the engine that will fly tomorrow extensively over the past few weeks, and it is apparently now ready to go, as Musk said.

Future, higher-flying iterations of Starhopper will sport three Raptors. The fully operational, 100-passenger...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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