SpaceX Starship Update: Starhopper Engine Test Get a Fireball Finish

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary
of one of humanity’s greatest achievements — putting people on the moon — SpaceX
is busy preparing for its next giant leap: sending humans to Mars. To that end, the California-based aerospace
company conducted a static-fire test of Starhopper, a squat, six-story prototype of a larger interplanetary
launch system known as Starship that’s being designed to take people to and from Mars,
late Tuesday (July 16) in South Texas ahead of a planned hop test flight of the craft. The hop test is nothing like a normal launch
since the spacecraft isn’t nearly ready to go into space. But for SpaceX, Starhopper passing the hop
test means the rocket’s engines and other vital systems are responding well to stresses
in the real world. It’s no trip to Mars, but this success is
still a pretty big deal for the Starhopper. But the prototype version of SpaceX’s next-generation
rocket caught fire Tuesday night following an engine test in Boca Chica, Texas. About four minutes after SpaceX briefly ignited
the vehicle’s engine, a second small explosion engulfed the rocket in flames for a few seconds
— seemingly by accident. The fire was quickly extinguished, but the
incident may postpone the first big flight of the vehicle. In this video Engineering Today will discussSpaceX’sStarhopper
which engulfed in fireball after critical Raptor static fire test. Why this incident may postpone the first big
flight of the vehicle? Let’s get into details. The video shows a fire suppression system
– essentially a robotic firehose – starting to douse Starhopper and its launch pad with
a stream of water. The system was ostensibly used to put out
some flames coming from the rocket’s side. But when the water touched the vehicle, a
fireball erupted, shooting flames more than 100 feet into the air. The vehicle is fueled by liquid methane, a
main ingredient in natural gas, and turns into a volatile and highly flammable gas when
it’s exposed to air. It’s unclear at this point what the cause
of the fireball was, and whether it was in any part intentional. What’s certain is that this is not how previous
test fires have gone, and generally speaking you don’t want your rocket to be on fire,
even if it is highly heat-resistant. Some have speculated that there was a fuel
dump following the tests that produced lighter-than-air vapors, which rose and surrounded the rocket. The water jet may have caused the small fire
to ignite the vapor, producing the fireball. The test rocket in Boca Chica is tasked with
showing off the prowess of SpaceX’s new engine, the Raptor, which was developed specifically
for Starship. Equipped with one Raptor engine on its underside,
the test vehicle is set to perform a series of “hop” tests in the weeks and months
ahead, similar to how the company tested a Falcon 9 rocket called the Grasshopper in
2012. During these events, the vehicle’s engine
will ignite, taking the rocket up to an altitude high above the Earth. It’ll hover there for a period of time before
using its engine to land back on the ground. It’s all meant to test the vehicle’s capability
to launch from and land on Earth — as well as other planets. The test vehicle, nicknamed Starhopper, has
already seen a little bit of action. In April, SpaceX ignited a Raptor engine underneath
the rocket for the first time. During that test the vehicle was tethered
to the ground during that ignition and subsequent firings, so the rocket hasn’t seen any air
yet. SpaceX had been planning to perform the first
hop test this week. Tuesday night, ahead of the hop, SpaceX ignited
the Raptor engine briefly while Starhopper was constrained, to see if the hardware was
ready. But just moments after a seemingly successful
ignition, the rocket lit up again in a fireball and had to be doused. On Wednesday morning (July 17), people who
visited the company’s launch site, posted detailed pictures of the vehicle, and the
images did not appear to show any major structural damage. But while that’s testament to the test vehicle’s
durability and stainless steel skin, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong inside, delicate
electronics and other systems could tell a different story. Wednesday morning, crews were spotted underneath
the hopper, surveying the area. Starhopper is designed to pave the way for
Starship, a 100-passenger vehicle that SpaceX hopes will one day take humans and cargo to
destinations far beyond low-Earth orbit. Starship is intended to be a fully reusable
rocket system, meaning SpaceX wants the rocket to be able to quickly launch, land and launch
again — much akin to an airplane. This would be a step further than SpaceX’s
current “Falcon” series of rockets, which are partially reusable. The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets land
the largest part— the first or “booster” stage — after a launch. SpaceX has also begun catching the rocket’s
expensive nose cone. Recovering the entire rocket is key to Musk’s
goal of full reuse. The company now uses Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy
rockets for all of its launches. The Starship is part of the eventual replacement
for the Falcon rockets as well as the Dragon capsule. This first version of Starhopper is powered
by a single Raptor engine, which is still in development. The next-generation engine is fueled by a
combination of liquid methane and liquid oxygen and packs about twice the punch of the Merlin
engines currently powering the company’s Falcon series of rockets. SpaceX is still in the early stages of Starhopper
testing, but the company expects the shiny prototype will eventually be powered by three
Raptor engines. Starship will have six, and that vehicle’s
Super Heavy rocket will sport 31 Raptors. SpaceX is building a second, similar Starhopper
prototype in Florida, and it hopes that a little friendly interoffice competition will
yield the best design. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said that the
company is working on getting regulatory approval to launch the Starship and Super Heavy from
both its Boca Chica facility as well as Cape Canaveral. The company is steadily raising funding for
both Starship and its internet satellite network, called Starlink. So far this year, SpaceX has sought more than
$1.3 billion across three funding rounds. With over $1 billion already raised, SpaceX’s
valuation has risen to more than $33.3 billion. As mention, Starhopper already has two brief
test flights under its belt, but the craft was tethered to the ground on both occasions. The upcoming hop will be the first time Starhopper
is allowed to fly free. Earlier this month, SpaceX founder and CEO
Elon Musk has tweeted that the upcoming leap, which is supposed to send the rocket about
65 feet (20 meters) into the air, where it would hover, move sideways, and then land
back on its Launchpad, could take place on July 16 — the 50th anniversary of the launch
of NASA’s Apollo 11 moon mission.. But the company didn’t meet that target, opting
instead to take time for more prep work. The highly anticipated untethered hop is likely
now on hold pending a data review following the static-fire test. Starhopper is made of a rugged steel that’s
similar to the kind used in pots and pans, but it’s unclear if the rocket was significantly
damaged by the incident, or how much. SpaceX did not confirm whether or not the
second explosion was indeed an accident, but according to locals, there are no more road
closures planned around the company’s site. That indicates testing is no longer scheduled
for the rest of the week. The company deleted road-closures notices
for the streets around SpaceX’s site. Every time SpaceX wants to launch from the
area, it must ask a local judge in advance to close Highway 4 – the only road into and
out of the site – for safety. What’s important is that Starhopper appears
to be fully intact after the incident, meaning that SpaceX should still be able to detank
and safe the vehicle and analyze it to figure out what went wrong. Watch live as the rocket is saved and technicians
hopefully begin to arrive on-site to begin inspections. While the fireball may not have derailed SpaceX’sStarhopper
test plans, the company just this week revealed what it thinks caused an explosion to another
of its vehicles last April during a different static fire test. The Crew Dragon capsule that exploded and
was destroyed during a test in Cape Canaveral probably resulted from a leaking component
in the propulsion system, the company said. Crew Dragon, which had a successful uncrewed
test launch to the International Space Station in March was originally slated to send the
first humans back to the ISS from U.S. soil this year since the space shuttle program
ended in 2011. That was before the explosion. SpaceX has said it may still be possible to
get a crewed test launch to the ISS before then end of 2019, but it would be difficult. Boeing is also working on its CST-100 Starliner
spacecraft, also set to return astronauts to the ISS, but has faced a series of delays
as well.

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57 thoughts on “SpaceX Starship Update: Starhopper Engine Test Get a Fireball Finish

  1. I'm sure we will all get to see a hopper fully explode b4 one gets to space. Wouldn't be a real space ship if they didn't blow up a test vehicle in the prototype stages. History is in the making daily by the Space X team. I love every member of the team. I have Don't need to even know who they are to know they have my heart.

  2. Redacted my comment because I posted too quickly. I thought you said the fireball happened during test so I corrected you. Then I noticed that you said it happened during the extinguishing of the fire, this is correct. I apologize for jumping the gun and thank you everyday engineering.

  3. What was that Starship heavy monstrosity you show about mid video by the way? It was at about 6 minutes and 20 seconds!

  4. It's a very simple concept when you douse a chemical fire with water it will create a BIGGER fire there really is no need to make this more complicated than it is

  5. LOX is not fuel. It is the necessary oxidizer needed for combustion. Also, the FIRE was not an explosion. An explosion is a violent expansion in which energy is transmitted outward as a shock wave…. there was no shockwave. This was an anomalous fire that ignited excess fuel that got pushed up by the water from the fire hose displacing it. What kind of engineering channel is this? Allow me to tell you what most likely happened. The fuel (methane) which has to be in liquid form (very cold) kept coming out of the nozzle after the test concluded. The LOX stopped, but the Methane continued. Even if it continued for 1-2 seconds, that would be enough Liquid methane to cause this issue. Also, while methane itself is less dense than air (lighter than air), it likely retained some of its density and its heavier than air status for a very short period due to it being very very cold. As it warmed up, it would have dissipated naturally, but the firehose shot water down into the gas forcing it up and causing it to come in contact with the remaining fire on the vehicle and that combustion would likely have accelerated the heating of the remaining cold gas and giving us the show we saw.



  8. If they are having trouble landing the main booster on a barge, why just wait in orbit till the earth spins back to the original site so the booster can land on the same pad as the side boosters landed 24 hours earlier. Problem solved!

  9. Space X is the latest space fraud .these people aren't going anywhere, and haven't 😂…wake up…rocket landind standing up is obvious reverse video joke

  10. Hey when stainless steel gets really really hot it's almost like copper or any other metal and vaporizes and slowly but surely release his other is Daddy coming pools that are trapped inside of its binary structure when that wrap your fired up in the whole bottom of that starhopper got hot and then stainless steel started heating up what happened as you have chemicals like Argan natural chemicals like let's see here hydrogen how many other metals are combined to make stainless steel so yeah when you get water on something and it starts to get hot it's going to vaporize and wanted vaporizes and lets off all that gas is trapped inside of the water molecules which makes a water flammable as far as the fuel dump goes if you're running a static test you don't put more fuel in your tanks than what your static burn would require maybe about 3 seconds amount over but not by much which would only equivocal to several ounces to maybe a liter or two if you'll just depending on the numbers and how much money they're actually spending on filling their tanks and how many gallons are actually putting in

  11. Other than it being on an adjustable tension rocket stand where it can have a little bit of play and movement up and down the board as its thrusting and it's thrust vectoring is taking place why would you tether something with that much power to the ground do you not have any Common Sense here knocking to get through readings unless you actually launch the son of a b** and get it over with clear out a hundred 50 Mi radius and play around with it let's play Frogger

  12. Hey no offense but if I was an astronaut I damn sure wouldn't want to be on that starhopper being that stainless steel skin is gone off the way and your legs and most of it around the bay circumference of the rocket in the area where the Raptors are sitting but doesn't look too structurally sound might have to go back to the drawing board on this one Elon

  13. Why not spray the outer shell with Teflon a small thin micro layer of it every f**** thinner than that stainless steel you're using and be a hell of a lot lighter and it will withstand heat more maybe some Ceramics in there or something

  14. Love your voice quality. It is a wonderful break from the videos that use a computer voice. Pauses in speech seemed great except for the las few phrases. Then the pauses seemed noticeable beyond fitting.

  15. Too many adverts, especially for a so short video. I think I spent as much time watching them than to watch the video.
    Shame as it was interesting despite not being too detailed.

  16. the fire was because the jew have masturbait him self und from the much hit this dream masterpiece of jew enginearing have got a fire! i am fireman und i have seen many jews got fire from their dicks! i told them soooo many times in the morning do not masturbate you dick but only after und in the evening but they do listen to me und for that they got fire every day!! if your are so hot then go fuck your mother und your satan red horn rabi he like it so much und then fuck all your jew race like i do every day und for that you are so happy astronaut und you fly every day in the sky!

  17. Starhopper is one tough mother. It came thru the fireball without any major damage. Hop test set for next week. It will be either a dramatic failure or a dramatic success, but it will definitely be dramatic.

  18. Can you please stop adding creepy background music. Keep it simple. Your content is good and it will get eyeballs regardless.

  19. yes it will be quiet an experience for normal public just to go on a trip even though i would rather spend that money on something else.but world is made up of all sorts of sensibilities, not everybody wants to do things for everybody else, sense of self absorbed adventures or thrill of it all is very relevant i guess to life and maybe it is needed also who knows…

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