Elon Musk and his SpaceX private space company are making good progress with the second stage rocket ship that can be reusable – Starship. SpaceX Starship is designed to carry passengers and cargo into space or Earth’s orbit. Its first launch is scheduled for 2020, but before that tests must be conducted to ensure the safety of the spaceship.
This is the reason test articles are being built. One of these test articles has already started integrated system testing in March 2019. Starhopper is Starship’s test flight rocket and was used for early integrated testing of the cutting-edge Raptor engine. Starhopper comprises of a flight-capable propellant framework which can also be used for launches and landings at low altitude.
Until now, Starhopper had two tethered flight tests which led to the discovery of some issues with the rocket’s Raptor engine. The two tests have taken place at the beginning of April at SpaceX’s test ground in Boca Chica, Texas. The two utilized a tether by which Starhopper was restrained near the ground.
SpaceX Starhopper will fly around the Moon in 2023
After the problem at the Raptor rocket engine was corrected, as Elon Musk revealed on Twitter at the beginning of July, the third test flight is scheduled to happen soon within a week. What is different with this test is that SpaceX Starhopper is finally ready to drop the tether and fly without restriction.
At the present moment, the test flight rocket Starhopper contains only one Raptor engine, but SpaceX is planning to build a new test vehicle that will contain 3 Raptor engines in order to have a greater flying power. Starship is designed to have six Raptor engines. Starship will be able to sustain 100 passengers and is projected to launch from Super Heavy, the first stage of the launch vehicle Big Falcon Rocket.
SpaceX has great ambitions as it wants to use Big Falcom Rocket to explore the Moon and Mars. In 2023, SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy are scheduled to take a crewed trip around the Moon. But before that, SpaceX, together with several telecommunications companies, wants to launch a satellite by 2021.