SpaceX's Starhopper test vehicle successfully makes its first bounce

Elon Musk: 'Water towers *can* fly.'

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Richard Lawler
July 26, 2019 12:45 AM
Veronica Cardenas / Reuters
Veronica Cardenas / Reuters

After completing zero of two launch attempts on Wednesday, SpaceX went two for two on Thursday. Its Dragon spacecraft is making a third trip to the ISS, while its Starhopper test vehicle took a tiny untethered jump from its test pad in Texas (the picture above is from Wednesday's fiery test that was aborted just as it began). Elon Musk tweeted jokingly afterward that "Water towers *can* fly haha!!," then, more seriously, confirmed that a 200m test is scheduled to occur "in a week or two."

There's no close up video footage of the attempt available yet, but the South Padre Isle live stream captured the event from a short distance away. To see the smoke and flame, check the stream at about 10:43 PM and let it play from there.

This stubby test mule is testing out the Raptor engines before SpaceX flies its first "Starship" spacecraft. In practice, it's similar to the Grasshopper tests we saw years ago before Falcon 9 boosters that could launch and then land themselves became a regular occurrence.

Update: If you wanted a close up look then here's one that's about as close you can get. Musk tweeted out video from the "engine cam" taken during the test.

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SpaceX's Starhopper test vehicle successfully makes its first bounce