Starhopper, the new prototype rocket Elon Musk succeeds his first significant flight
Space projects Elon Musk, embodied by his company SpaceX, have experienced a new episode with the successful launch of a new rocket prototype. While yesterday, Monday, August 26, a first takeoff attempt failed at the last moment yesterday Tuesday, August 27, that gear retro look, like a water tower while steel was able to take off to a altitude of 150 meters.
Then, the spacecraft, known Starhopper, the diameter of 9 meters and height 39 meters, moved laterally about 100 meters before a controlled descent and landing in the center of the area provided for this purpose the on the Gulf of Mexico to the extreme south of Texas.
This mini rocket prototype foreshadows, in a simplified manner, the future spacecraft Starship, which also constitute the upper floor of WCR super launcher future (Big Falcon Rocket), called to detach during future space missions. The next super-heavy orbital launcher SpaceX, is intended to replace long-term all existing rocket company Elon Musk whose Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy to make flights to the Moon and to Mars.
The take off and landing of successful this Starhopper also tested the Raptor rocket engine. This is the first member of a family of propulsion system powered by cryogenic methane developed by SpaceX. It is designed to equip the lower and upper floors of super heavy launchers SpaceX. According to specialists, this successful launch marks the first time that a large rocket engine liquid-methane propellant conducting a major theft.
The construction of the first prototype of Starhopper began in early December 2018. “The stainless steel vehicle was built by welders and workers with construction techniques recalling more than a shipyard that traditional aerospace manufacturing,” says the site Wikipedia.
With its first flight successfully at an altitude of 150 meters, the Starhooper prototype will test flying a number of Starship future subsystems and evolve its design. All other test flights will be low level, below 5 kilometers (16,000 feet).