SpaceX made its first jump with Starhopper ̵
Starhopper jumped 20 yards and safely returned to the ground a few seconds later, SpaceNews reports. The test took place around 11:45 pm. ET on July 25 at the SpaceX test site Boca Chica in South Texas. It was a small jump for Starhopper, but an important jump for SpaceX, as the company can now continue its ambitious Starship project.
Already in April, SpaceX conducted a series of tests of the Starhopper system. Yesterday's test took place the day after a broken test with no cable caused by high chamber pressure.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, tweeted a couple of videos showing the test.
The footage showed how the 9 meter wide Starhopper slowly rose and was then completely obscured by exhaust buffeting from its Raptor engine. The first free flight of the prototype took about 10 to 15 seconds.
Starhopper was compared to a water tower with its stable, cylindrical shape, whereupon this tweet by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk read: "Star Hopper flight successful. Water towers * can * fly, haha !!
The video captured by Everyday Astronaut could not show much of the test given the enormous amount of smoke, but footage taken shortly after the test showed a considerable fire in the Immediate Environment of the prototype (the action starts at 4 o'clock) Hours and 40 minutes). SpaceX has underestimated the extent to which the flames would devour the Launchpad.
Starhopper is a prototype of the launch system that will eventually be used for SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy Rocket. This fully reusable second-stage rocket is designed to replace SpaceX's Falcon9 launcher, which could happen over the next two to three years.
This next generation launcher delivers satellites to orbit and transports cargo and personnel to the International Space Station, Moon and Mars. The spacecraft could be modified to carry 100 passengers on interplanetary long-haul flights, but it could also be used for point-to-point ground transportation. For example, a flight from New York City to Paris would only take 30 minutes with the spaceship.
With this first free jump, now in the books, SpaceX wants to make more ambitious jumps. In a tweet Elon Musk said the next jump in a week or two will be a 200-meter jump.