SpaceX’s Starhopper vehicle test-fires its engine for the first time

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2019-04-04

Starhopper test firing.

For a couple of weeks, SpaceX engineers and technicians have been conducting a series of tests on its Starship prototype vehicle in South Texas. For example, they have loaded liquid oxygen and liquid methane fuels onto the vehicle, studied the cryogenic properties of the fuel tanks, and then removed the propellant.

As expected, this was all a little dull for those eager to see Starhopper light its single Raptor engine—until Wednesday evening. Shortly after night fell over the southern Texas test facility, Starhopper roared to life for the first time, firing its Raptor engine and lifting briefly off the pad. The vehicle did not go far, because for now it remains solidly tethered to the ground.

This test firing was apparently successful. "Starhopper completed tethered hop. All systems green," SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the test.

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