The company SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon musk, it’s a problem. Scheduled for today testing an experimental spacecraft Starhopper again failed. The prototype vehicle had to rise to the height of 20 meters, but after the engine caught fire. Recall that last week, occurred a similar incident, only then fire was even more ambitious.
New setback SpaceX
As indicated Space.com during the tests at the SpaceX Boca Chica (South Texas, USA) only installed on a Starhopper and a running jet engine Raptor had only been there for about three seconds. However, the unit was not able to rise into the air as planned. Instead, at the top of the ship appeared through the flames and smoke, and then automatic turn off the engine.
To date, experimental apparatus Starhopper has carried out only one successful test. It was conducted in April of this year. Then the prototype was able to reach the height of several inches off the ground.
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During the last tests they wanted to perform the first loose hop (without secure the apparatus to the ground with chains, like last time), lifting it to a height of about 20 meters. In February, the company also conducted a static ground test of the new Raptor engine operating on mixtures of liquid methane and liquid oxygen. The Raptor engine had to work at a power of 80 percent.
Video stream testing was conducted on YouTube. Her leading engineer SpaceX Kate theis after a failed test said that it was the design development phase, so from failures nobody is insured. The time of the fire you can see in the video below:
Last week the company also tried to test Starhopper, launching it to a height of 20 meters. However, shortly after starting the engine the camera covered powerful flame. Later, the head of the company Elon Musk said that the experimental prototype was not injured, and the cause of the fire was a fuel leak. By the way, this is not the first fuel leak in the spacecraft SpaceX. This spring, for the same reason exploded spacecraft Crew Dragon, which the company intends to use for manned flights into Earth orbit.
What is needed Starhopper?
Prototype Starhopper should form the basis of a huge space spaceship Starship, equipped with 6 engines Raptor. It is also going to develop the first stage Super Heavy, which will be equipped with 35 engines Raptor. With it, the device will be displayed on the orbit.
This system Elon musk very much. According to an earlier statement by the head of SpaceX, the combination Starship/Super Heavy will be fully reusable. That is, after the launching and landing of the first stage and the ship itself can be reused. Aboard Starship can hold up to 100 passengers.
See also: Elon Musk: we can put a man on the moon in 2023
The company intends to use the ship Starship to deliver people and cargo to the moon and to Mars. In addition, there is the idea of using the machine as a transport in the earth atmosphere. In this case, allegedly, a flight anywhere in the world will take about 30-60 minutes.