After a few false starts, Elon Musk's prototype Mars rocket completed a spectacular but short flight on Tuesday.
The single-engine Star Hopper version of the SpaceX Starship rose nearly 150 meters (324 ft) over the Texas coast before descending again for a soft landing. SpaceX streamed the event live, which featured a small water tower or a giant R2-D2 over the Gulf Coast for less than a minute.
"Congrats SpaceX team !!" Musk tweeted.
Starhopper is the first test prototype for a next-generation spacecraft, with which Musk plans to send people around the Moon and Mars over the next decade.
After the flight, some observers on Twitter noticed that the hopper seemed to lose some of its parts during his short hop.
Starhopper's first attempt at a long hops was canceled last monday on Monday. The test had already been postponed from earlier in August. Musk called a cabling or plug problem with the detonators as a reason for the delay on Monday
Prior to Monday and Tuesday scheduled test times, residents near the company in Boca Chica, Texas, were warned that a potential malfunction could trigger pressure waves strong enough to break windows in the area. Locals were advised to clear all buildings and bring their pets outside during the test window to avoid the risk of glass flying.
The small test version, which looks like a flying water tower (as noted by by Musk himself ) performed a brief hovering flight at a height of 20 meters after dark on July 25.
Musk has announced that this will be the final test flight for this particular prototype and that it will be converted into an aircraft test stand for Starship's Raptor engines.
With this last test of Starhopper in the books, Musk has announced that his next step is to give a presentation. Update the world about that Design by Starship and all changes to his plans for the largest SpaceX missile yet. Musk has announced that the final spacecraft will have six or seven engines and be combined with a new SpaceX Super Heavy missile. This is to create a launch system that can compete with the Saturn V rocket that brought NASA astronauts to the Moon.
In Past Years Musk has shared plans to shop on Mars with super-heavy carrier rockets (formerly known as BFR or Big Falcon Rocket), to send artists on a voyage around the moon, and even to offer transcontinental orbital flights.
Originally published on the 26th of August. Update, Aug. 27, 15:09. PT: Adds that Starhopper made his jump. Update, August 27, 4:01 pm PT: Adds further details to the successful launch.