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

Katie Ramirez
April 7, 2019

The test, which was under 60 seconds, made the Starship prototype look like a shiny bullet surrounded by a massive circle of fire.

Space aficionados are on the ground in Boca Chica watching the test hops from afar and discussing them on the NASASpaceFlight.com forum.

The Starhopper, as the company's CEO calls the test spaceship, will be used to confirm takeoff and landing capabilities of the future machine that will carry humans to orbit and beyond.

Online video footage published Wednesday shows SpaceX testing the prototype Starship Hopper's Raptor engine at Boca Chica Beach.

"Starhopper completed tethered hop", Musk said in a tweet, sharing a video of the apparent test firing. The rehearsals involved loading the vehicle's propellant tanks and verifying the performance of its avionics and plumbing. The camera is about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from SpaceX's site.

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The upcoming possible hop test of Starship is working on an impressive amount of progress in the construction of the vehicle. However, the test only lasted shortly.

The test flights have attracted attention from both locals as well as spaceflight enthusiasts, some of whom have traveled to the site, on the Gulf Coast near Brownsville, Texas, to try and catch a glimpse of the vehicle and its flight tests.

In February 2019, Raptor's full-scale version was sacked up for the first time. Prior to the April 5 test, SpaceX filed temporary flight restrictions with the Federal Aviation Administration in the airspace immediately surrounding the test site to an altitude of 300 meters for several hours each day on April 5 through 7. That rocket would be capable of reaching Mars.

Musk is in the hope that with this prototype of the reusable vehicle SpaceX will transport up to 100 people to its aimed destination including the Moon and Mars.

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