SpaceX’s Starship prototype, also known as the “Starhopper,” just test-fired its engine for the first time, and according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the brief rocket test firing was a success.
On Wednesday, the Starhopper vehicle conducted a tethered hop at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site in Texas at 8:56 p.m. EST, Space.com reported. The test, which was under 60 seconds, made the Starship prototype look like a shiny bullet surrounded by a massive circle of fire.
Musk confirmed the successful test on Twitter with a brief post. “Starhopper completed tethered hop,” Musk wrote in an update. “All systems green.”
Starhopper completed tethered hop. All systems green. https://t.co/0m5Bm5slD2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2019
There aren’t many details on the Starhopper test, however, SpaceX engineers and technicians have been conducting various tests on the Starship prototype, analyzing the cryogenic properties of the fuel tanks, loading liquid oxygen and liquid methane fuels onto the vehicle, and removing the propellant, Ars Technica noted. The April 3 test most likely involved one engine and according to Musk’s earlier comments, didn’t travel very high in the sky and it was connected to ground equipment for most of the time.
First (really short) hops with one engine. Suborbital flights with three.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2019
The Starship could be used to send people to Mars and the Moon in the future, due to the U.S. and other nations emphasizing the importance of space exploration. In January, Musk revealed the first photo of the Starship prototype, which looked like a retro-inspired spaceship and a shiny silver bullet.
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