SpaceX moves a step closer to fulfilling its dream of colonizing Mars by the successful launch of the much anticipated ‘Starhopper’ on the evening of the 25th July from the Texas launchpad. This cylindrical water tank shaped rocket is a scaled-down prototype of the SpaceX spacecraft, Starship, which has been planned to be used for deep space exploration. This is for the first time that the rocket flew without being tethered to the ground. It was tested a day before but the mission failed due to supposed temperature imbalance in the fuel which demanded an urgent takedown of the launch. But this time everything was executed properly and the rocket hopped about 65 feet into the air before landing safely.
According to New Scientist, the blueprint of Starship includes six Raptor engines, but the prototype ‘Starhopper’ included only one. This explains the reason behind the lack of height attained by the spaceship. More engines are planned to be incorporated into the anticipated system of the StarShip gradually to make a full-fledged launch. It was also the first time a Raptor engine was launched since a previous similar attempt on 16th July ended up in an enormous fire while luckily enough, the engine took no severe damage. The problems were fixed for this time and no unexpected situation arose.
Elon Musk said that the flight was successful and tweeted “Water towers *can* fly”, referring to the peculiar shape of the spaceship. He also shared a drone view of the launch which showed thick clouds from the engine as it flew upwards, obscuring the view. Musk also said that there will be another test in the next week or two, this one flying ten times as high. Reportedly, SpaceX has already started working on two bigger prototypes, with teams established and functioning in Texas and Florida who are working on building the second-generation Starhoppers that will be fitted with the previously-mentioned three engines instead of one for accurate testing prior to the major launch of the targeted project.
Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire who has recently signed a deal with the SpaceX franchise to collaborate on a mission to go around orbiting the moon, tweeted in praise of the success, “Congrats! The moon is right here”.
With congratulations and well wishes showering from all around the company’s field of indulgence, it has been perceived that the mission is indeed a huge feat on the part of SpaceX community.