The Other Day, on Wednesday, July 24 th, the model test car for the Starship(the Starhopper) began its very first untethered “hop test” at the business’s test center in Boca Chica, Texas. This test is an essential turning point for SpaceX, meant to verify the Raptor engine in totally free flight and bring the business one action more detailed to producing the super-heavy launch system that will permit journeys to the Moon and Mars.

Sadly, the ground group was required to terminate the test due to a fire that started quickly after engine ignition. This comes quickly after a fixed fire test that occurred last Tuesday, July 16 th where the newly-installed Raptor engine appeared in an abrupt and unanticipated fireball. Though no damage appears to have actually been triggered (once again, the good news is!), this newest flare-up represents another technical problem and another hold-up for the Starship.

This test was to be the very first totally free flight of the Starhopper, following 2 connected hop tests that were performed back in April. Comparable to what was finished with the model for the Falcon 9 rocket (the Insect test car), the test would include the car sparking its thruster and increasing to a fixed elevation– in this case, 20 meters (~65 feet)– prior to making a powered landing.

Nevertheless, quickly after engine ignition, a little fire appeared that triggered the ground group to terminate the very first untethered hop effort. This fire resembled what happened throughout the fixed fire test recently, where the ignition triggered a discharge of methane, obviously due to a methane vent line coming loose.

The whole occasion was transmitted by means of live-stream, making this the very first time that SpaceX has actually launched main video footage of the Starship‘s advancement. As SpaceX engineer Kate Tice (who hosted the webcast) stated after the test was terminated:

” It looks like though we have had an abort on today’s test. As you can see there, the car did not take off today. As I pointed out in the past, this is an advancement program, today was a test flight created to evaluate the borders of the car.”

Considered That there are no warranties with these sorts of tests, the choice to live stream it can just be referred to as gutsy and extremely transparent. In reality, the business continued the live webcast for more than 15 minutes after the hover test was terminated. The groups wanted to make a 2nd effort the other day night, however another technical concern required them to scrub that also.

The engine utilized in this test was the 6th full-blown Raptor constructed by SpaceX– aka. Raptor Identification Number 6 (SN-6). The previous designs had actually reached different stages of screening and mostly effective, hence permitting the business to get to this point in its advancement. The primary exception was Raptor SN-5, which experienced technical issues while being evaluated at the business’s Rocket Advancement Center in McGregor, Texas.

2 seconds into a prepared 50- 2nd test shooting, the engine experienced was harmed beyond repair work The failure triggered modifications for engine SN-6, which then passed 5 test shootings at McGregor prior to being delivered to Boca Chica for the hop test. These shootings lasted in between 10 and 85 seconds, setting a brand-new record for the Raptor engine.

Another effort was performed earlier today, which was likewise live-streamed from Boca Chica. As soon as once again, a fire started quickly after engine ignition, this time shooting out from the top of the rocket. The flame was not temporary and the Starhopper did stagnate, leading the ground group to when again terminate the test.

When once again, the issue seems due to a methane vent line. No informing if SpaceX wishes to make another effort later on today, however remain tuned for updates (or keep viewing the live stream)! Fingers crossed, Starhopper! Fingers crossed!

Additional Reading: NASA Spaceflight.com, Teslarati, CNBC