With the arrival of a new Raptor engine at their Boca Chica launch facility, SpaceX is gearing up for a second round of testing with the Starhopper vehicle in South Texas. The latest test campaign is slated to begin in mid-June and is expected to include the first untethered hop of Starhopper. Meanwhile, on the Florida side, SpaceX continues to make progress with their plans to utilize Pad 39A for the Starship program.
The Starhopper vehicle is a testbed for the development of SpaceX’s upcoming Starship spacecraft. The launch provider hopes to one day utilize the fully reusable Starship system to launch humans and cargo to the Moon and Mars.
Starhopper performed its first two hot-fire tests at the beginning of April. During the tests, a single Raptor engine was fired for a couple of seconds to verify that Starhopper was ready for more rigorous testing including untethered hops to higher altitudes.
Following the April events, the Raptor engine – designated SN2 – was trucked away for post-testing analysis. Then, work quickly began to prepare the Starhopper vehicle for the next phase of testing.
This work included the installation of quick disconnect umbilicals, attitude control systems, and shock absorbers ...