SpaceX just performed a test hop of its Starship vehicle for the first time, a huge milestone by the company as it moves ahead with the development of the spacecraft that it says could one day take people to Mars. On Wednesday, SpaceX fired up its prototype Starship rocket, as confirmed by Elon Musk.
Just as previous testbeds are known, the round-topped rocket is meant to serve as a testbed for SpaceX’s interplanetary-class Starship, as the Grasshopper and the F9R Dev blazed a trail for SpaceX’s self-landing Falcon 9 rocket boosters.
Designed carefully with a fully reusable launch system, the hopper version of Starship is the key that will prove the design and mechanics of a rocket to unlock Musk’s vision of making spaceflight more like realistic air travel.
Musk hopes that with this reusable vehicle prototype, SpaceX will transport up to 100 people to its aimed destination, including the Moon and Mars. Do you feel this as surreal? No, Musk first unveiled the vehicle in 2016 at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, where 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. Not just one, but two webcams have been tracking the activity day by day.
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.
The upcoming possible hop test of Starship is working on an impressive amount of progress in the construction of the vehicle. This hop test will, therefore, will be a significant milestone for Starship’s development and proof that it is very much real.