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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Elon Musk Says SpaceX's Starhopper Prototype Survived Fireball, May Fly Next Week

• https://www.space.com, By Mike Wall

Starhopper apparently made it through its unplanned trial by fire just fine.

The vehicle, a prototype of SpaceX's Mars-colonizing Starship spacecraft, was engulfed in flames following a routine static-fire test of its next-generation Raptor engine Tuesday (July 16) at the company's South Texas facility. 

But Starhopper emerged pretty much unscathed from the incident, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday (18).

"Yeah, big advantage of being made of high-strength stainless steel: not bothered by a little heat!" Musk wrote, responding to a Twitter follower who asked if Starhopper was OK. "Post-test fuel leak, but no major damage," Musk added in another tweet.

SpaceX conducts static-fire tests ahead of all launches, including test missions, to ensure vehicles are ready to fly. Tuesday's trial was designed to pave the way for a big Starhopper jaunt — its first untethered test flight, which will take the craft to a maximum altitude of about 65 feet (20 meters), according to Musk.

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