The latest flight test of Starhopper was scheduled to happen on August 26th at 7 p.m. EDT (23.00GMT). Starhopper’s one of the test articles designed by SpaceX with the sole purpose to test the technologies intended for the rocket and spacecraft Starship. Its construction began in December 2018, and since then more and more instruments were added to it. It measures 9 meters in height, and so far underwent a multitude of tests, some successful, some not so much.
Starhopper’s test flight aborted seconds before launch
Starhopper’s latest test and the second untethered one was supposed to reach 150 m (490 feet) with a propellant load of maximum 30 tons before making a three-point landing on the SpaceX’s property at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas.
Unfortunately, moments before the launch an issue with the ignition of the Raptor engine had been reported. Therefore, the space agency had no other choice but to postpone the test. The good news is that the researchers will not have much to wait as the next trial was scheduled for the next day, on August 27th at the same hour. And if this text won’t work again, they will attempt a third test on August 28th.
Starhopper exploded, but the SpaceX mission will go on
Elon Musk’s explanation regarding the Raptor engine was that, while the engine works best for long-term, it is quite complicated to build.
In preparation for the tests, the people that lived in Boca Chica were warned to stay outside of their houses to avoid possible injuries if the experiment went wrong and Starhopper exploded. Also, the roads in the region around the facility will be closed for a few hours during the test launch by the regional police department.
If the test launch were performed accordingly, the Starhopper’s last test would further boost the development of the Starship (and Super Heavy) spacecraft.