SpaceX Starhopper rocket test: How to watch the next attempted launch on Tuesday
After an aborted launch Monday, the prototype version of Elon Musk's Mars Starship may get another chance Tuesday afternoon.
Eric MackContributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is firstname.lastname@example.org.
ExpertiseSolar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/Credentials
Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Starship rocket prototype, dubbed "Starhopper," did no hopping on Monday, but SpaceX is setting up to try again Tuesday afternoon.
Watch this: SpaceX aces Starhopper rocket test
Monday's planned Starhopper hop was delayed for two hours, then aborted as the launch clock ticked down to zero and the craft's single Raptor engine failed to ignite. That means the earliest we might see the hopper's second and final flight attempt is 2 p.m. PT (4 p.m. Texas time).
SpaceX started streaming from its test launchpad in Boca Chica, Texas, a few minutes before its scheduled launch time Monday, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the company's YouTube channel Tuesday to get the best view of the hop. In the meantime, local YouTubers like LabPadre have 24-hour live feeds trained on Starhopper:
The Federal Aviation Administration revised SpaceX's experimental permit for the rocket prototype to fly as high as 150 meters (492 feet) above ground level. The revised permit was signed Friday and posted to the FAA's website on Monday morning.
That cleared the way for the single-engine version of Musk's next-generation rocket to take flight once more. Cameron County, Texas, officials have been circulating a notice to local residents advising them to prepare for "space flight activities" this week.
SpaceX had planned to test the single-engine version of its eventual Mars vehicle with its second short flight earlier this month, but the launch was abruptly canceled. Musk later tweeted that the Federal Aviation Administration required a bit more "hazard analysis" and Starhopper "should be clear to fly soon."
With the new permit issued, we could finally see Starhopper make some serious maneuvers. Its last test hop, on July 25, was a short, nighttime 20-meter liftoff, hover and landing that was mostly obscured from view by fire, smoke and darkness.
If this next hop is successful, Musk has said he'll follow it with a public presentation "hopefully mid-September," updating us on the design and vision for Starship.
In previous presentations over the past few years, Musk has outlined his plans to use his next-generation heavy launcher (also previously known as BFR or Big Falcon Rocket) to help build a colony on Mars, send a group of artists on a trip around the moon and even provide transcontinental travel on Earth.
But before any of that can happen, Starhopper needs to show it has real hopping chops, hopefully soon.
Watch this: The private rocket company trying to send Australia to space for the first time
Originally published Aug. 22. Update, Aug 27, 12:06 p.m. PT: Adds information about aborted launch, next earliest launch time.