SpaceX completed a second low-altitude test flight of the Starhopper demonstration prototype, testing technologies used to build the next-generation Starship ship in its original size. In this test, the Starhopper (hence the name?) Was brought to a height of about 150 meters (or slightly less than 500 feet), the highest he has ever flown, in a SpaceX test facility in Texas. After the jump, which lasted about 50 seconds (the GIF up is 2X faster), he successfully navigated to a target landing site a short distance away.
This is the second test drive without cable for the Starhopper SpaceX will push ahead with the construction of its Starship prototypes Mk I and Mk II, which are currently taking place simultaneously in locations in Florida and Texas. Today's attempt was the second attempt after a scheduled yesterday's test was dropped at the last second. SpaceX was reset and made sure everything was fine for this longer hop, which lasted just under a minute.
SpaceX's first test was conducted in July Unbound hop to test the operation of the Raptor engine SpaceX developed for Starship, along with other subsystems for use in production Starship. This only flew for about 22 seconds and reached a height of only 20 meters.
SpaceX's Texas and Florida installations are currently working on the prototypes of their original-size spacecraft, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is ambitious and will launch his own flight tests later this year, perhaps in just a few months. The larger prototypes, which should be closer to the actual launch, will test more Raptor engines working together and flying higher altitudes. This is another important step on the way to a true first test flight in orbit.
Ultimately, SpaceX hopes to fully replace both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy with different configurations of Starship, which will help the company in terms of cost efficiency due to its fully reusable nature and streamlining of all rocket-building efforts for a vehicle type.