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SpaceX's massive Starship prototype lifts off



It was the first time the experimental craft, nicknamed "Starhopper," flew free without being tethered to the ground

SpaceX's goal was to lift the spacecraft about 65 feet into the air before gently landing it nearby – what's SpaceX called and "hop test." It's not clear exactly how high the craft flew. Footage captured by reporters present at the South Texas launch site show fire and smoke erupting from Starhopper's massive Raptor rocket engine, obscuring the vehicle from view.

The SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the flight was a success

"Water towers can * fly," he joked in a tweet, referring to Starhopper's likeness to a cylindrical water tank.

Musk tweeted that SpaceX will next attempt a 200 meter, or 650 foot, hop test "in a week or two. "
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seconds after the Raptor engine fired up. The craft never left the ground, and the stray flames appeared to shoot out the top of the vehicle, but no serious damage was done. Musk said the hop test was called off because fuel was "colder than expected," causing a problem with pressure levels inside the vehicle.

Starhopper is designed to be a precursor to a deep-space exploration rocket called Starship, and

The latest design for Starship, which was previously referred to as BFR, shows it riding into orbit atop the most powerful rocket booster ever built.

Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire who landed a deal with SpaceX to one day, use and Starship Spacecraft to circle the moon, tweeted praised to Musk

"Congrats !!! Moon is right there!" he wrote.


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