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2019-08-29 Science & Technology
SpaceX's Mars rocket prototype rattles nerves of nearby residents in Texas flight test
[DAWN] SpaceX test-launched an early prototype of the company's Mars rocket on Tuesday, rattling the nerves of people living near the Texas site and clearing another key hurdle in billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's interplanetary ambitions.

The prototype, dubbed Starhopper, slowly rose about 500 feet (152m) off its launch pad in Brownsville, Texas, and propelled itself some 650 feet (198m) eastward onto an adjacent landing platform, completing a seemingly successful low-altitude test of SpaceXs next-generation Raptor engine.

The Raptor is designed to power Musks forthcoming heavy-lift Starship rocket, a reusable two-stage booster taller than the Statue of Liberty that is expected to play a central role in Musks interplanetary space travel objectives, including missions to Mars.

The prototype "hopper" vehicle, resembling a chrome water tower with four landing legs, was originally slated for its test liftoff on Monday.

But a rather embarrassing wiring issue with the single Raptor engine halted the countdown less than a second before ignition, Musk, the SpaceX founder and chief executive, said on Twitter.

About a dozen people living in the adjacent village of Boca Chica, just over a mile from the test site, had been urged in advance by local authorities to vacate their homes as a precaution at the sound of police sirens that blared minutes before launch.

It almost looked like a cartoon or something, nearby resident Cheryl Stevens told Rooters just after Starhoppers flight. After all the buildup, it was kind of nice to actually see it happen.

The notices, circulated by sheriff's deputies three days in advance, warned of a possible "overpressure event" that could shatter windows and endanger anyone remaining inside their homes in the event of an explosive malfunction.

Maria Pointer, another resident, set up cameras and invited photographers to her home. She said excitement surrounding the launch reminded her of "feeling like youre going on a Ferris wheel.

Posted by Fred 2019-08-29 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6460 views ]  Top

#1 Actually most of the residents have become minor celebrities and photographers/video-graphers.
Lots of "Go Fund Me"s for cameras, telescopes and video/internet servers from mounts in their front yards.

The whole money to be made bit. Copyrights galore!!
Posted by 3dc 2019-08-29 01:25||   2019-08-29 01:25|| Front Page Top

#2 Small towns would love to see their water towers do that.
Posted by Snating Gray1918 2019-08-29 07:14||   2019-08-29 07:14|| Front Page Top

#3 It does look funny. A squat, gravity defying R2D2.

Kudos to Space-X. Now make those off-earth population re-locators.
Posted by Dron66046 2019-08-29 07:55||   2019-08-29 07:55|| Front Page Top

#4 Future sci-fy novel: "In a way, Elon Musk did finance the exploration of humanity's home galaxy and beyond. When time travel was invented, the Commission wisely kept it secret and sent operatives back to place standard sports book bets against Musk's 'Starship' ever getting anywhere. The winnings from those bets were invested (with future knowledge of the markets and politics on Earth) and in 2257 the first warp-capable interstellar and intergalactic craft launched on the profits of Musk's scam..."
Posted by M. Murcek 2019-08-29 07:57||   2019-08-29 07:57|| Front Page Top

#5 Ah'm more curious about the girth of Starhopper.
How many rotary feed cruise missile platforms can one put in that baby? Some desired targets are out of range of a coastline.
Posted by Skidmark 2019-08-29 22:31||   2019-08-29 22:31|| Front Page Top

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