One day after SpaceX's first attempt to bring the Star Hopper test vehicle to a height of 150 meters, the company plans to open it at 17:00 on Tuesday (21:00 UTC) CET to try again.
] The company completed the countdown on Monday before the test vehicle's single methane-burning Raptor rocket motor could ignite. The fault lies in a wiring or other plug problem in the engine's igniter, said SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Twitter .
The Raptor engine uses a new type of detonator to start the combustion process between oxidant and methane propellant, which Musk characterized as "double redundant torch igniter". This ignition process will be more reliable in the future, he said but he proved to be "sensitive" during the development.
For the missiles Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy SpaceX uses a volatile substance known as TEA-TEB chemical mixture for igniting the Merlin engines. This is a combination of triethylaluminum (TEA) and triethylborane (TEB), which are essentially two different elements, each attached to three hydrocarbon atoms. These molecules are held together by rather thin bonds that break easily. When TEA-TEB comes in contact with oxygen, it ignites spontaneously and produces a green flame.
Residents of the Boca Chica launch site in southern Texas received another notification Tuesday of a probable test window between 5pm and 8pm (9: 00-00: 00 UTC). We'll add an official livestream to this story when it starts on Tuesday night. Informal streams can be found here.
Following the 150m Star Hopper Test, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that he will provide an update on the development of Starship during a presentation in Boca Chica. He has not set a fixed date for the presentation, but has announced that it is expected to take place in mid-September.
This will be the last flight of the burly Starhopper. It's a test vehicle designed to test the company's ability to control the flight of the new Raptor engine. In recent months, teams of SpaceX engineers have been working on full size prototypes in Boca Chica and Cocoa, Florida – Starship Mk1 and Mk2. These vehicles will initially fly with at least three Raptor engines. Suborbital flights could start this fall.
The original size ship, which will launch into space with a rocket called "Super Heavy", is said to have six engines. it will be able to land and launch on distant worlds including the Moon and Mars.
Listing Image by Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Technica