SpaceX Starhopper set for epic next test jump as early as Friday – CNET

Starhopper before its first untethered hop.


Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

If you enjoyed seeing SpaceX’s Starship prototype hop 20 meters (65 feet into the air last month, then you’re in for a treat when it shoots for a new 200-meter (650-feet goal. The launch attempt could happen as soon as Friday, Aug. 16.

The shiny stainless-steel prototype is powered by a single Raptor engine and is nicknamed “Starhopper.” It’s designed make short “hops” to test takeoffs and landings. SpaceX is also working on two separate Starship orbital prototypes that will aim to reach Earth orbit.

Starship is SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft. It’s meant to service Earth orbit, but also travel around the moon and even land on the moon or Mars one day. It’s a key part of founderElon Musk’s vision of making our species interplanetary.

On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a flight-restriction noticefor Starhopper’s Texas test site for Aug. 16-18 at certain times. This falls in line with Elon Musk saying on Twitter the hop would hopefully happen this weekend. The first potential hop window opens at noon PT on Friday.

As for witnessing the hop live online for yourself, you have a few possible options. SpaceX itself broadcast a hop attempt that didn’t get off the ground in late July. Keep on eye on the SpaceX Twitter account for a possible webcast link.

Tim Dodd, the space specialist and YouTube educator known as Everyday Astronaut, will be stationed nearby to keep an eye on things. Follow his YouTube page for a live feed and smart commentary.

Spadre.com runs an ongoing live view of the Starship facility from a distance. It doesn’t always have the clearest view, but it’s worth a peek.

Delays are common when it comes to spacecraft testing, but if all goes as planned, then SpaceX will feel pretty confident about moving ahead with its orbital Starships. That would be a good thing since Musk has suggested Starship could visit the moon as soon as 2021. Time is short. Let’s get hopping.