Next Tuesday, SpaceX’s Starhopper prototype is set to make its first untethered test flight, powered by a special engine known as the Raptor engine. The craft will reach a maximum height of no more than 20 meters, and this test is the first of many designed to push the limits of the hopper. SpaceX also will conduct ground system checkouts and perform a short static fire test. The company is working with the city of Brownsville to establish a safety zone perimeter around the test site, and signs are expected to be posted to let the community know when testing is will begin. Read more for a video and additional information.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, this first untethered test flight will also test the Starhopper’s sideways movement, and the company is aiming to launch the first version of its Starship spacecraft in just “a few months,” with a target altitude of around 65,500-feet. Does this hover test sound familiar? If so, that’s because SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket also underwent a hover test where it lifted off 840 feet in the air vertically . This prototype eventually became the reusable Falcon 9 rocket used in many of SpaceX’s launches today.
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