T-20 minutes to SpaceX’s Raptor-powered Starhopper static fire test


10:00 pm CDT

Per NASASpaceflight.com, Starhopper’s static fire ignition is approximately 30 minutes away (10:30 pm CDT).

9:15 pm CDT

Starhopper has begun venting, a sign that propellant loading is proceeding apace. Nominally, this is a strong indicator that the SpaceX prototype is roughly an hour out from a planned Raptor static fire ignition test. 

Fire crews are on standby in Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX’s Starhopper is believed to be a few hours away from performing a full ignition and static fire test. If all goes well, July 15th’s Starhopper static fire will be a big step towards the low-fidelity Starship prototype’s first untethered flight, a hover test that could see the craft fly up to 20 meters (65 ft) off the ground, hold steady, and then return back to its pad for a (hopefully) soft landing.

The data gathered from Starhopper – cobbled together out in the South Texas elements with thick stainless steel and parts snagged from SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets – will be useful, given that it will technically be the first time SpaceX flies a rocket built out of steel, but the hover test will be even more significant as a milestone for Raptor itself.

LIVESTREAM: T-20 minutes to SpaceX’s Raptor-powered Starhopper static fire test

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