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SpaceX’s next-generation rocket had a successful hop Tuesday, traveling 150 meters (~500 feet) into the sky before landing down at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
The prototype of SpaceX’s Starship advances the design of the vehicle that will transport humans to the Moon and Mars. Tuesday’s experiment used the largest version of the spaceship tested to date. A single Raptor engine lifted the spaceship. The Raptor has about two times the thrust of the Merlin 1D engine that powers the current Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
SpaceX shared a video of the test flight, including a shot of the rocket’s legs unfolding for the successful landing.
SpaceX says Starship will eventually stand nearly 400 feet high and 30 feet wide. The company says the spaceship could carry as many as 100 people to Mars.
The flight of the “SN5” prototype was a significant milestone for SpaceX. Musk said next steps for the program will include more short hops, then an attempt at a high-altitude flight.