SpaceX recently built a stout and shiny rocket ship called Starhopper near Boca Chica Village, Texas.
The vehicle is a crude prototype for a much larger vehicle designed to reach Mars, called Starship.
Elon Musk, the rocket company’s founder, says engineers will attempt to launch Starhopper about 65 feet (20 meters) off the ground and hover on Tuesday.
SpaceX is also building bigger Starship prototypes in Texas and Florida. The company hopes to launch those vehicles into orbit as soon as next year.
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SpaceX is about to perform its most ambitious test-launch yet of a shiny Mars rocket prototype in south Texas.
Workers have descended upon the developing coastal launch site over the past 8 months to build and prepare the stout, three-legged prototype for testing. It’s built out of stainless steel, has the shape of a badminton shuttlecock, and is equipped with one of SpaceX’s next-generation Raptor rocket engines.
Elon Musk, the rocket company’s founder, named the roughly six-story-tall rocket ship “Starhopper” because it’s not built to fly into space but rather to “hop” to altitudes no higher than about 3 miles.
Starhopper is a prototype for a much more powerful and roughly 400-foot-tall launch system known as Starship: a vehicle that Musk and his company envisions taking dozens of people to the moon or Mars, deploying hundreds of satellites at a time, or rocketing people around Earth in a matter of minutes.
SpaceX fired up Starhopper for the first time on April. That test secured the rocket ship with giant, bike-chain-like tethers on its legs, and the vehicle lifted the ship no more than a few inches off the ground. Subsequent tests lifted it up farther, but not by much.
Next week’s test will launch it completely untethered.
“Raptor engine …read more
Source:: Business Insider