Elon Musk shares first test firing of SpaceX's Raptor flight engine

Elon Musk shares first test firing of SpaceX's Raptor flight engine

Follow Elon Musk's Twitter and SpaceX's Twitter for more updates on the Raptor engine's progress.

On Sunday, Elon Musk and SpaceX engineers conducted an experimental firing of the Raptor engine, which could be used for future flights to Mars.

The Starship project, which SpaceX expects to become its main family of spacecraft and carry passengers to Mars, has been going through twists and turns at the company's Boca Chica, Texas facility.

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Elon Musk on Sunday tweeted videos and pictures revealing the first firing of the new Raptor rocket engine that will power SpaceX's prototype Starship, the vehicle created to carry humans on quick hops across the world and eventually to Mars. The engine tested here, though, is a flight model, intended for use on the "hopper" test article of the company's Starship reusable launch vehicle under development at its South Texas launch site.

The videos show the rocket engine firing, and thus creating a wave of multicoloured flames. In December 2018, Musk tweeted that the Raptor had been "radically redesigned", while not elaborating. The Super Heavy mounts 31 Raptor engines, while the Starship has seven.

The recent test wasn't the first firing of any kind of Raptor. Merlins use kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX) propellants, for example, whereas Raptors use liquid methane and LOX. Musk has said the prototype could start doing short-hop tests within the next month or two; although that schedule may have been set back by a storm that damaged the Hopper last month during construction.

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