It appears that Starhopper might take some more time before it makes its biggest jump yet.SpaceX was hoping for a Starhopper launch during the weekend. It is an early prototype of Starship, a Mars-colonizing vehicle that has been developed by the company. The prototype was supposed to reach an altitude of at least 650 feet high, after this launch from the Boca Chica facility in Texas, located near Brownsville.
All that was left was to obtain necessary permissions for this flight from FAA authorities, stated Elon Musk, the company’s CEO and founder, in a tweet sent out during this week. However, on Thursday, he sent out another tweet, stating he had held a fruitful conversation with the chief of FAA. A proper hazard analysis was all that had to be done, after which the flight would be cleared. However, that still means the launch has been pushed back to next week, even under the most optimal circumstances. Cameron County officials, near Boca Chica, announced on Friday that a state highway and the BC beach would be shut down on August 21, starting from 2PM to 12AM, in order to accommodate the SpaceX launch.
County officials have stated that August 21 would be the closure’s primary data, while August 22 & 23 have also been reserved as alternates, in case anything goes wrong. Starhopper has been in flight over 3 times now, with all launches conducted at Boca Chica. This vehicle managed 2 tethered hops during April and had an unrestrained flight on Jul 25, a flight which targeted an altitude of at least 65 feet.
The Starhopper contains 1 Raptor engine. Starship is capable of ferrying 100 passengers and will contain 6 Raptors, stated Musk. Super Heavy, which is the rocket responsible for launching Starship, will have over 35 Raptors. However, these numbers are subject to change, as Musk is readying up to provide a design update to the Starship next week. Provided the test goes as per plan, the Super Heavy – Starship duo could kick off satellite launches by 2021.