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The planned 150-meter-high test flight of SpaceX’s Starhopper test prototype was aborted at T-0 seconds last night when the Raptor engine did not ignite as expected.
A live video feed provided by SpaceX showed the squat, 30-foot-wide (9-meter) Starhopper vehicle counting down to a planned liftoff shortly after 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. EDT; 2300 GMT) Monday from the company’s facility in South Texas. The vehicle’s single methane-fueled Raptor engine could be seen swiveling side-to-side in a preflight steering check, as the Starhopper pad’s sound suppression system dumped water under the vehicle.
But the Raptor engine did not ignite as the countdown clock reached zero.
“Test aborted just after T-0,” read a text banner on SpaceX’s webcast. “Teams evaluating next test opportunity.”
They say they will try again today. If you want to watch this link provides some suggestions.
These test flights are testing the Raptor engine more than they are testing vehicle take-off and landing. This engine is a significant advancement from not only SpaceX’s Merlin engine but from almost every rocket engine previously built. It has the potential to set the record for the most efficient and powerful engine. It is therefore not unexpected that there will be issues during these test flights.