SpaceX has canceled the planned launch of its Starhopper rocket on Monday (August 26) after a last-minute crash brought the highly anticipated demonstration flight to a standstill. The company hopes to try again on Tuesday.
Starhopper, a stocky, reusable prototype for SpaceX's planned spacecraft, was scheduled to land a three-point landing on Monday in South Texas near Boca Chica Village. But when the countdown clock shortly after 19 clock reached zero. EDT (2300 GMT), Starhopper's only Raptor engine, did not fire.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pointed out that the problem may have been with the detonators of the Raptor, the company's latest rocket engine.
"Raptor uses dual redundant torch lighters, better in the long run, but more sensitive in development," wrote Musk in a Twitter statement . For a while, SpaceX seemed to be trying a second launch attempt on Monday night, but the company eventually decided to delay 24 hours.
"Detonators need to be inspected," Musk added. "We will try again tomorrow at the same time."
SpaceX now plans to launch Starhopper on Tuesday, August 27th. Cameron County County Sheriff Department will block roads in the districts of Boca Chica near SpaceX for several hours during the launch attempt on Tuesday. SpaceX could also try it on Wednesday if necessary.
The next launch of Starhopper has been postponed for almost a week as SpaceX has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration to obtain take-off permits.
An FAA Launch License requirement set the nominal altitude to 500 feet (150 m) – Musk had originally targeted 200 meters for the test – and a maximum propellant charge of 30 tonnes. Another requirement was that SpaceX should increase its liability insurance for the flight in the event of an accident from $ 3 million to $ 100 million. You can read about this experimental starting permission here.
A report reportedly sent to residents of Boca Chica near the SpaceX facilities warned against the SpaceX test and suggested that they go outside during the flight "Injuries to Avoid or Minimize" Broken discs in an accident or explosion.
At the beginning of this year, SpaceX launched the 18 m high Starhopper on two short, tied hops. On July 25, Starhopper launched its first free flight and reached a height of about 20 m.
Musk said that this fourth flight, the highest ever for Starhopper, will also be the rocket's last journey.
"Yes, last flight for Hopper", Musk said on Twitter on August 24 . "If all goes well, it will be a vertical test rig for Raptor."
SpaceX built Starhopper as a technology testing ground for its ambitious Starship and Super Heavy rocket project, providing a massive, fully reusable launch system for travel into near-Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and even point-to-point Travel around the Earth should be developed.
As Starhopper retires, SpaceX is expected to focus its attention on its larger Starship prototypes powered by multiple Raptor engines. The company is building two Starship prototypes, one at its South Texas location and another near the company's launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.