Watch A Video of SpaceX’s First Mars Rocket Engine Firing
The Raptor roars.
Your regularly scheduled Motherboard programming has been disrupted due to an unforeseen MASSIVE ROCKET ENGINE TEST.
One week after boasting about the Raptor engine's initial, successful test, SpaceX has posted a video of its brand new methane-fuelled rocket engine in all its shock diamond glory. This is, after all, the rocket that SpaceX is planning to use to take humanity to Mars, the engine that will power the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) that Elon Musk announced last week.
Ladies and gentlemen: the Raptor…
As Motherboard explained, SpaceX will use 42 of these engines on the behemoth ITS to boost the spacecraft into orbit. From there, nine Raptor engines (six specially-designed to operate in the vacuum of space) will drive the spaceship and colonists to Mars.
Each Raptor engine delivers more than 690,000 pounds of thrust at lift-off, and the design is one of the first in the United States to use a full-flow staged combustion technique.
The Raptor engine is so interesting, in fact, that the US Government ploughed $33.6 million into SpaceX in January to help fund the development of an upper-stage variant of the engine, designed to be used on the upper stage of the Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy booster from SpaceX. The engine, the Pentagon hopes, will fulfil the role of powering what it calls "Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles" for satellite launches.
But we've still got a long wait until we see it in action on a real launch, with SpaceX not planning to start ITS tests until 2018, when Musk's company hopes to launch its first probes to Mars.
Correction: this piece originally stated this was the first video of the Raptor engine firing. SpaceX says on its Facebook page this is a video of "the first test of this next-generation rocket engine." We've updated the article accordingly and regret the error.
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