«Jumped» 150 meters into the air
The Verge reports that SpaceX has completed a successful test launch of its future spaceship, the Starship. The launch can probably better be described as a «jump», as long as the rocket did not go further than 150 meters into the air before it landed controlled on the ground again.
Starship is a spacecraft that has been under development at SpaceX since 2012, and is scheduled for completion in 2021. This was the first successful test of a «proper» launch, after a dry test went spectacularly wrong earlier this year. But SpaceX did not let that break it, and has since emphasized that Starship is their most important investment at the moment.
The test launch that was done now was on a much smaller scale than what is planned for the finished product. Only one Raptor engine was used, while the completed Starship spacecraft will have as many as six of these. The entire spaceship will also be placed on top of a giant rocket stage called «Super Heavy», which will also be powered by Raptor engines.
You can watch the launch here from SpaceX’s own YouTube channel:
Must be able to lift up to 100 tons
This is what it looks like inside the rocket engine.
In total, Starship will measure around 120 meters in height and 9 meters in width in finished condition, and have a lifting capacity of up to 100 tonnes. These are very large numbers, but so is SpaceX’s ambition that Starship will eventually be able to be used to transport goods and humans to other celestial bodies, primarily the moon and Mars.
The final rocket will of course also have a pointed cone top; the rocket you see in the video has only a heavy block mounted on top to simulate a payload.
SpaceX will already be well underway with the creation of a new prototype, which will be even more complete than the one we saw today. This will be the sixth prototype, and just like the test we saw now, this test will probably also be filmed properly for everyone’s enjoyment – when the time comes.