Elon Musk: SpaceX Starhopper lifts off (a little bit)

Elon Musk: SpaceX Starhopper lifts off (a little bit)

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.

Starhopper was built at SpaceX's Boca Chica launch facility, near Brownsville, Texas, and the company's fans have been watching avidly from afar as ground crews installed the first Raptor engine and tested out the propulsion system's plumbing. In January, Musk revealed the first photo of the Starship prototype, which looked like a retro-inspired spaceship and a shiny silver bullet.

The SpaceX founder wrote: "Starhopper completed tethered hop".

The test occurred at 8.56pm EDT (12.56am GMT April 4) and lasted less than a minute. The video featured above was captured by Spadre.com, a website for the South Padre Surf Company on South Padre Island across from SpaceX's facility.

"Starhopper completed tethered hop", SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reported in a tweet.

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Musk's declaration that Starhopper hit the end of its tether indicates the second hop was likely higher than the first. "Suborbital flights with three".

SpaceX is performing tests in order to reach a point when its massive Super Heavy booster will be capable of taking the Starship into space and landing it back on Earth, much like the Falcon 9 rocket.

The Starhopper prototype is constructed of stainless steel and has a diameter of approximately 30ft (9m).

Elon Musk has previously stated the nose cone is unnecessary the initial test hops.

SpaceX's Starship hopper originally had a nose, which is now not on the prototype. If the Raptor engine and Starship Hopper remain in good condition after the test we might see more hops in the future and, eventually, untethered ones.

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