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SpaceX Starhopper Prototype Makes Final Test Flight

Achieved An Altitude Of 500 Feet Before Landing Back At Separate Landing Pad

After a technical glitch scrubbed its launch as the countdown clock ticked down to zero, the SpaceX Starhopper prototype got off the ground Tuesday evening in its final test flight.

The squat spacecraft reached an altitude of 500 feet during the flight, a limit imposed by the FAA in its launch license. The Starhopper barely left the ground in its first two flights, which were tethered. The third flight rose to an altitude of 65 feet, according to a report from Space.com.

Starhopper lifted off just after 1800 EDT (1700 local time in Texas), reached its hover altitude, and then flew sideways to the nearby landing pad. The flight lasted just under a minute.

Starhopper is powered by one Raptor engine, which is being developed by SpaceX for use on its Falcon Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft.

SpaceX will not turn its attention to two orbital prototypes, which SpaceX calls Starship Mk1 and Mk2. They will be powered by three Raptor engines each, according to Musk. Test launches of these prototypes will lead to operational Starship flights, which SpaceX hopes to launch as early as 2021.

(Images from YouTube)

FMI: Source report


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