Enlarge / The first test
firing of a flight version of SpaceX’s Raptor rocket engine.
(credit: Elon Musk/Twitter)
Elon Musk has been at SpaceX’s test site for its rocket engines
in central Texas this weekend. The facility near McGregor is where
the company both tests Merlin engines for Falcon 9 flights, and
also performs some experimental firings.
Due to a variety of reasons including
financial pressures, SpaceX is pushing hard on the development
of its next-generation Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft.
This was evidenced this weekend when, at 1:15am Central Time on
Sunday morning, Musk
shared a nighttime picture of himself on the test stand at
McGregor, saying “with engineering team getting ready to fire new
Raptor rocket engine.” It was the dead of night on Super Bowl
weekend, and they were working on an engine that won’t go into
space for a few years. But that didn’t matter.
The test itself appears to have taken place later on Sunday.
Eyewitness reports in Central Texas noted a large
pop on Sunday evening, and more later Sunday night. Musk
himself tweeted a
photo shortly before 10pm local time, and thereafter a video.
The test firing itself lasts for a few seconds, and was evidently
successful. “First firing of Starship Raptor flight engine! So
proud of great work by @SpaceX team!!” Musk wrote.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
SpaceX test fires flight version of its Raptor engine for the first time