SpaceX completed a second low-altitude test flight of its “Starhopper” demonstration prototype, which is being used to test technologies that will be used to build the full-scale next-generation SpaceX “Starship” spacecraft.
This test involved “hopping” the Starhopper to a height of around 150 meters, the highest it’s flown so far, at a SpaceX test facility in Texas.
The hop lasted for 50 seconds as it successfully navigated itself to a target landing pad a short distance away.
This is the second untethered test trip for the Starhopper, and is intended to be its last, as SpaceX moves forward with construction of its Starship Mk I and Mk II prototypes.
Today’s attempt was the second try after a planned test yesterday was aborted at the last second, with SpaceX resetting and ensuring everything was in place for this longer hop, which lasted just less than a minute.
SpaceX ran its first untethered hop in July this year. Its designed to test the operation of the Raptor engine SpaceX is developing for Starship, along with other subsystems for use in the production Starship. That flew only for around 22 seconds, and attained a height of just 20 meters.
Starship prototypes would be constructed in new SpaceX’s Texas and Florida facilities.
SpaceX is hoping to replace both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy entirely with different configurations of Starship, which will help the company in terms of cost efficiency due to its fully reusable nature and streamlining all of its rocket construction efforts around one type of vehicle.