SpaceX is planning to carry out an important test on Tuesday involving Starhooper (also called Hooper) which is now equipped with the Raptor engine. The Hooper is the second-stage of the Starship rocket and will be a part of future SpaceX missions.
This test will involve achieving an altitude of 20 meters and moving the Hooper sideways for its first flight. Musk said in his tweet that the first flight of Starship will take place within a few months and will aim at achieving an altitude of 20km. Current tests involve only one Raptor engine fitted in the Hooper and will aim to test the landing capabilities of the rocket.
Last week, Musk hinted that he would be doing a presentation on Starship late this month, after the Hooper ‘hovers’. He also added that the Hooper is ready for the tests as the vibration problem with the Raptor engine was resolved. The ‘hover’ test involves lifting off the Hooper and making it hover above the ground before landing.
The tethered test which was carried out in April involved firing the Raptor engine for the first time, which was carried out in SpaceX’s Texas facility in Boca Chica. Musk had shared the test footage where the Hooper lifted off above the ground before hitting its tether limit in two seconds.
Musk hopes to use the Starship for SpaceX’s first private moon mission in 2023. The Starship is an important part of Musk’s plan of setting up a Mars base as well. SpaceX’s first Mars mission is scheduled in 2024.