Elon Musk Unveils SpaceX's 1st Rocket Engine Test for Starship Rocket

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Musk has said the prototype could start doing short-hop tests within the next month or two; although that schedule may have been set back by a storm that damaged the Hopper last month during construction.

The Raptor let out a thunderous roar as it fired up.

SpaceX just took another step toward Mars.

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During these early test firings, rocket scientists will focus on the color of the fame, which is key for the Raptor engine's health: Ars Technica noted that the engine's exhaust turned green at the end of the test firing.

Musk has been teasing his Twitter followers for days with the promise of a video of the new engine's first firing. While SpaceX plans to develop optimized versions of the Raptor for both the Starship upper stage and the lower booster stage, now called Super Heavy, SpaceX is, for now, working on only a single version of the engine for both.

However, the Starship prototype recently suffered a minor setback, after high winds in Texas blew the top half of the hopper off.

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The Raptor will represent a technological break for SpaceX engines.

Despite Musk being clearly pleased with the "great work" his team have done on this project, SpaceX laid off around 10% of its workforce, or more than 600 employees, in January.

The first launches of the full-scale Starship-Super Heavy duo could follow in relatively short order.

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The first rocket firing happened right around 1AM Central Time on the morning of Sunday, February 3rd, 2019. And the flight Raptor will boast about twice the thrust of the Merlin version that powers the Falcon 9.