Space

SpaceX fires up its Starship Raptor engine

SpaceX test fires a flight version of its Raptor engine for the first time
SpaceX test fires a flight version of its Raptor engine for the first time
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The Raptor engine under development in Texas
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The Raptor engine under development in Texas
SpaceX hopes the Starship will be able to transport 100 people to Mars
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SpaceX hopes the Starship will be able to transport 100 people to Mars
SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket booster will be powerful enough to lift 100-metric-ton payloads into low-Earth orbit and beyond
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SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket booster will be powerful enough to lift 100-metric-ton payloads into low-Earth orbit and beyond
SpaceX test fires a flight version of its Raptor engine for the first time
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SpaceX test fires a flight version of its Raptor engine for the first time
The Raptor engine under development in Texas
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The Raptor engine under development in Texas
Lifting all the pieces it needs to colonize Mars off the face off the Earth is going to involve some serious firepower
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Lifting all the pieces it needs to colonize Mars off the face off the Earth is going to involve some serious firepower
SpaceX hopes its Starship, along with its Super Heavy rocket, can propel 100 people to Mars
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SpaceX hopes its Starship, along with its Super Heavy rocket, can propel 100 people to Mars
The final design for the Starship calls for seven Raptor engines, and the Super Heavy booster for a total of 31
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The final design for the Starship calls for seven Raptor engines, and the Super Heavy booster for a total of 31
The Starship prototype under development at SpaceX's Texas facility
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The Starship prototype under development at SpaceX's Texas facility
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with the raptor engine
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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with the raptor engine
The completed Starship prototype
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The completed Starship prototype

Lifting all the gear needed to colonize Mars off the face of the Earth is going to involve some serious firepower, and SpaceX has just tested out an important piece of the puzzle. A flight version of the Raptor engine that will serve as a primary building block for the company's Starship spacecraft was engaged for the first time today, as it targets the first grasshopper test flights in the coming months.

The Starship spacecraft, up until recently known as the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), is designed to one day carry 100 people to Mars. Intended to be fully reusable, the stainless steel vehicle will measure 55 m (180 ft) long and will launch atop SpaceX's Super Heavy rocket booster (also reusable), which is powerful enough to lift 100-metric-ton-payloads into low-Earth orbit and beyond.

The completed Starship prototype
The completed Starship prototype

SpaceX recently completed a prototype of the Starship at its facility in Texas, which it hopes to use to conduct grasshopper tests within the Earth's atmosphere in the coming months, though recent wind damage may see this pushed back. The prototype features three of SpaceX's Raptor engines, though the final design for the Starship calls for seven, and the Super Heavy booster for a total of 31.

SpaceX hopes its Starship, along with its Super Heavy rocket, can propel 100 people to Mars
SpaceX hopes its Starship, along with its Super Heavy rocket, can propel 100 people to Mars

The company has now engaged the very first of these engines at the same Texas facility, with a video shared by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter showing the engine firing up spectacularly for a short burst lasting a few seconds, complete with camera shakes and all.

"First firing of Starship Raptor flight engine!" he tweeted. "So proud of great work by @SpaceX team!!"

Source: Twitter (Elon Musk)

2 comments
jerryd
Even a longer version of this can't take 100 people and their food, etc just for the trip to Mars.
john75
@jerryd, I believe the BFR is only expected to carry that many when the two plantes are closest and after there has been some support systems already in place on Mars. I don't think they would need to carry much that they don't need for that much shorter trip. And the Grasshopper is a tiny fraction of it's size
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