SpaceX's First Untethered Starship Flight Test Aborted after Engine Fire

SpaceX had to abort their untethered "hop" test after a flame shot was seen erupting above the craft.

SpaceX's first attempt to fly its prototype Starship untethered to about 65 feet in the air ended before it started.

The prototype rocket, tested at the company's facilities in Boca Chica Beach, Texas on Wednesday did not lift off from the ground after an engine fire was spotted.

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"Hop" test aborted after fire

During a surprise live-stream hosted by SpaceX engineer Kate Tice, a flame shot was seen shooting above the rocket. SpaceX had hoped to "hop" the spacecraft in a short flight above the ground.

“It appears as though we have had an abort on today’s test. As you can see there, the vehicle did not lift off today,” Tice said.

“As I mentioned before, this is a development program, today was a test flight designed to test the boundaries of the vehicle.”

As per Gizmodo, this was set to be the first untethered test utilizing the craft’s own guidance system. The Raptor engine was firing at 80 percent capacity.

Early tests

Going by the name of "Starhopper," the prototype rocket is an early test version of SpaceX's Starship vehicle. Just a few days ago Elon Musk tweeted that Starship, and its huge "Super Heavy" booster, will likely house an incredible 41 Raptor engines at liftoff.

The Starship project is being built as part of SpaceX's plans to get people to Mars by the 2030s. 

SpaceX's First Untethered Starship Flight Test Aborted after Engine Fire
An artist rendering of Starship at liftoff. Source: SpaceX/Flickr

“Starship is a fully reusable system that is designed to provide cost effective and reliable launch services to our customers and serve as an interplanetary launch system,” Tice said in the live-stream.

Though a fireball erupted during a Starship engine test last week, "everything looked good” after that test, “which brings us to our test hop today,” Tice said.

As CNBC reports, SpaceX has raised over $1 billion in funding rounds so far this year, going towards Starship and other projects, like its Starlink satellite network.

According to NASA Spaceflight, tests may resume today, pending confirmation.

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