Elon Musk’s Starhopper will next jump to 16,400 feet

Elon Musk’s Starhopper will next jump to 16,400 feet as SpaceX ramps up the testing of the Tintin-like rocket

  • A SpaceX online application suggests the a launch test is planned
  • It will test a maximum altitude of 16,400ft and a minimum of 1,6400 ft 
  • The launch site in Texas is the same as the last test conducted in April this year 
  • The prototype spacecraft is being used to test the engine of a bigger spaceship

Elon Musk’s Starhopper rocket will attempt to reach a height of 16,400 ft (5km) for its next test flight. 

The third SpaceX test will push the ‘hopper’ beyond its previous record after the April launch saw a mini prototype briefly lift off from its launchpad.

It was propelled by a methane-powered Raptor rocket engine but was tethered to the floor to prevent unwanted take-off.

The distance in the upcoming launch, according to documents filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suggests the next launch may not be restricted. 

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An engine that could one day lift passengers into space will attempt to fire a mini spacecraft – Starhopper (pictured) – 16,400ft into the sky at its next launch

Images were first revealed in January of the craft, which instantly drew comparisons to retro-styled spacecrafts from sci-fi films of yesteryear.

Twitter users pointed out the similarities of Musk’s creation with the contraption Tintin used in the 1954 adventure ‘Explorers on the Moon’.

Others said the sleek design and prominent fins closely resemble spaceships depicted in 1950s/60s films, Wallace and Gromit and even Toy Story. 

A form discovered by The Verge was signed by a SpaceX coordinator and details the application for what looks like another launch for the prototype rocket. 

According to the form, which was submitted this week, the goal height of the mission is stated as ‘Max altitude 16,400 ft’ (5,000m). 

‘The vehicle will fly vertically from the ground to under 500 meters for its low-altitude tests and up to 5,000 m for its high altitude tests.’ 

The distance is in keeping with the range of the mini starship, which underwent two ‘hop’ tests in the last months.  

The address of the launch is listed as: ‘Boca Chica Texas North 25 59 50 West 97 9 25 SpaceX South Texas Launch Site, Boca Chica, TX.


Twitter users pointed out the similarities of Musk’s creation with the contraption Tintin used in the 1954 adventure ‘Explorers on the Moon’ (pictured)

WHAT IS A ‘HOP’ TEST? 

SpaceX’s Starship prototype, called the Starhopper, underwent several tests to make sure its systems work properly. 

The first of these tests, called a ‘hop’ test, is simply a short static fire test.

During a hop test, the Starhopper’s single Raptor engine will be fired up.

However, spectators won’t be able to see much, if any, of the action.

The hop involves a ‘really short’ low-altitude hovering demonstration, wherein the craft lifts just a few feet off the ground.

Elon Musk’s rocket firm will also conduct ground systems testing and load it with propellants.

The dome-shaped rocket has previously been tethered to the ground during tests, meaning it couldn’t – and wasn’t supposed to – take off. 

The last test on Friday April 7, which followed another successful test hop that took place on April 3rd, was dubbed a static fire. 

Static fires are meant to make sure the test vehicle’s powerful Raptor engine is in working order.

The engine is a critical piece of hardware that will be used to power the Starship that could one day take passengers into space. 

Once it has seven engines installed, will be capable of producing three million pounds of thrust. 

In its first launch, the 60-foot-tall stainless steel rocket ship was fired up for the first time, causing it to be encircled in clouds of smoke and a blaze of fire. 

Clouds of smoke and a blaze of fire could be seen erupting from the prototype during the static fire. 

An application from Elon Musk’s SpaceX revealed that the Starhopper rocket will attempt to reach 16,400 ft (5km) in its third test flight. Starhopper prototype (pictured) after it was toppled off of the spacecraft as a result of strong wind gusts in March this year

The last round of tests the mini prototype was seen briefly lifting off its launchpad propelled by its methane-powered Raptor rocket engine. Pictured is a map of SpaceX’s Boca Chica test site, not far from Brownsville, Texas. Inset is a graphic detailing the various checkpoints on Brazos Island, where SpaceX’s launch site for the Starhopper prototype vehicle is located

In its last tests, the protoype spacecraft was tethered to the base in its last tests, but the distance in the upcoming launch suggest it will may shoot completely off the ground. SpaceX completed its first test of the Starhopper (pictured) in early April

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