SpaceX conducted the first test of an early prototype of the Starship spacecraft

SpaceX company conducted static testsOne of the three Raptor engines installed on the Starhopper flying model, which should eventually form the basis for the development of a new Starship spacecraft, said company head Ilon Musk on his Twitter page. A short-term start of the engine was carried out at a new space company under construction in Boca Chica, Texas. In the same “Twitter” the head of SpaceX confirmed that the official name of the prototype Starship spacecraft is Starhopper.

“Starhopper completed the first small jump. All systems worked perfectly, ”Musk wrote on his Twitter page and accompanied the message with a short video of one of the witnesses.

Starhopper completed tethered hop. All systems green.

- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on April 4, 2019

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Judging by the available information from numeroussources who watched this event, the test lasted no more than a minute. For example, the video above was provided by one of the company's employees, whose office is located near the SpaceX spaceport under construction. The shooting was carried out from a distance of about 10 kilometers from the scene.

More details about the testsUnfortunately, not yet. But, as the portal suggests, for the test, probably only one of the three new Raptor engines installed on the Starhopper model was launched. The separation of the model from the surface, apparently, was very small, since it was fixed by holding mechanisms (possibly chains or cables).

The first fire tests of the upgradedRaptor engine for the prototype of the spacecraft and in the perspective of the spacecraft itself were held in early March of this year. The fact that the first test Starhopper will be carried out only using a single engine Musk reported another 17 March. After that, he added that the suborbital tests of the flying model will be carried out using three Raptor engines.

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Recall that Starhopper isA suborbital prototype for testing the concepts of new technologies that SpaceX will need to create a new, huge, 100-seat Starship and its first stage (accelerator) Super Heavy. The name Starhopper, apparently, was formed from two words: the name of the future Starship ship and the Grasshopper rocket. Recall that the latter, just like Starhopper, was for SpaceX a tool for testing reusable launch vehicle technologies. As a result, based on this layout, the Falcon 9 launch vehicle was developed, which is now used to bring various spacecraft to near-earth orbit, deliver cargo to the ISS, and in the near future will also be used to deliver new crews to the International Space Station, as well as to return them back to earth.

Starhopper prototype assembled from steel sheets andhas a diameter of about 9 meters. In addition, for better aerodynamics, the company has created a conical upper part (fairing) with a height of 39 meters for a flying model. In January of this year, as a result of strong winds, the upper part fell from the model and was seriously damaged. She was sent to repair, which will be delayed for several months. Later, Musk said, for the initial tests Starhopper upper part is not required. That is why on the video above the layout does not look at all like we could see it in earlier photos and renderings. To test it covered with some kind of shield.

SpaceX wants to use the newStarship spacecraft for the colonization of Mars, as well as for rapid movements in the conditions of the Earth's atmosphere and other tasks. The company has already signed a contract with the first passenger of this spacecraft - the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maedzawa. According to him, in the first flight of Starship around the Moon, to be held sometime in 2023, Maedzva would like to go along with a group of people of creative professions selected by him.

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