'Water towers can fly': Elon Musk posts videos of his Mars spaceship hopping during major test flight

SpaceX via dearMoonSpaceX’s Starhopper rocket ship prototype on a launch pad in south Texas in July.
  • SpaceX completed a successful test flight of its Starhopper prototype vehicle on Thursday night.
  • CEO Elon Musk tweeted videos of the 20-second flight both from a camera mounted just above the vehicle’s engine and from a drone.
  • Musk tweeted Starhopper would attempt another “hop” in about a week or two – when he said it would travel 200 meters.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX on Thursday managed to successfully test fly the prototype for its Starship rocket, which CEO Elon Musk says will one day take passengers to Mars.

The vehicle, called Starhopper, is more than 60 feet tall and about 30 feet wide. It attempted a flight Wednesday night, but that test was abruptly ended after ignition.

Thursday’s test was more successful, with Starhopper taking off and hovering for roughly 20 seconds, travelling about 20 meters, or 65 feet.

Read more:
SpaceX just launched and landed a Mars spaceship prototype in a major test flight in Texas

The flight represents an important milestone, and Musk celebrated by sharing videos of the launch on Twitter.

While videos taken by locals showed the flight at a distance, Musk’s first video was from a camera mounted on the vehicle itself, just above the engines. It shows the spaceship taking off, moving, and landing.

Later, Musk posted another video of the launch – this time from a drone camera. It provides a clearer view of the Starhopper leaving the ground, engulfed in smoke.

Replying to someone on Twitter, Musk said Starhopper would attempt a 200-meter hop (219 yards) in “a week or two.”

Starhopper is an early test prototype for Starship, a much larger vehicle designed to land on the moon and Mars. Starship’s current design puts it at 400 feet tall, and Musk has said it will be able to ferry 100 people plus 100 metric tons of cargo to Mars.

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