SpaceX Starship Fires Raptor Engine for the First Time

SpaceX's 'Starhopper' Starship Prototype Just Aced Its 1st Hop, Elon Musk Says

SpaceX Starhopper Starship makes one small hop for mankind

It was the first time the SpaceX has used an engine on the suborbital Starhopper, which will eventually make more and more test flights with three Raptor engines at higher altitudes.

Elon Musk confirmed the short rocket test firing at SpaceX's latest launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville in a Twitter post late last night.

SpaceX will apply the insights gained during the test program to the design and construction of the honest-to-goodness Starship and its Super Heavy booster. In January, Musk revealed the first photo of the Starship prototype, which looked like a retro-inspired spaceship and a shiny silver bullet.

Elon Musk tweeted that "all systems green" with the tethered hop. The Starhopper is powered by Raptor engines, which run on liquid methane and liquid oxygen, and will fly no higher than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) in the air, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

"First (really short) hops with one engine", Musk wrote on Twitter March 17.

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And he added in another post: "First hops will lift off, but only barely".

The test occurred at around 8:56pm ET, according to Space.com, with Musk later tweeting that the test was successful.

The round-topped rocket is meant to serve as a testbed for SpaceX's interplanetary-class Starship, just as earlier testbeds known as the Grasshopper and the F9R Dev blazed a trail for SpaceX's self-landing Falcon 9 rocket boosters.

SpaceX initially built the prototype with a nose cone, extending its height to 128ft (39m), however the cone was blown off by powerful winds.

The engine that will go into the ship, the Raptor, is homegrown by SpaceX.

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