SpaceX test-fired one of the engines it will need to—eventually, some day, fingers crossed—send passengers to space aboard its aptly named Starship space ship. The test fire of the so-called Starhopper engine took place on Wednesday at its Boca Chica, Texas, test facility. The test was a tethered hop that let the engine do a “static fire” while connected to the ground so engineering teams could monitor it.
The test occurred at around 8:56pm ET, according to Space.com, with Musk later tweeting “all systems green” which we’re guessing means that the test was successful.
Starhopper completed tethered hop. All systems green. https://t.co/0m5Bm5slD2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2019
Starhopper is one of the engines that will hopefully help propel SpaceX’s new 100-person spacecraft, called Starship to the Moon and beyond. The Starhopper is powered by Raptor engines, which run on liquid methane and liquid oxygen, and will fly no higher than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) in the air, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. As Musk tweeted last month, one engine allows for short hops, while three are required for suborbital flights. SpaceX is expected to add two more Raptor engines to Starhopper in the coming months, leading to bigger and more dramatic launches.
While the new Starhopper technology can launch crafts into suborbital space, to get all the way to the stars, SpaceX is counting on its massive booster, the Super Heavy, to propel its spaceship to the moon and Mars, at least in theory.
Check out the stubby little rocket in action below, and while it doesn’t look like much, not that long ago, SpaceX was testing a similar Grasshopper rocket before its Falcon 9 rocket engines became a regular space traveler.