Elon Musk’s Starship prototype, dubbed “Starhopper,” has the green light to make its highest hop yet as soon as Monday afternoon.
The Federal Aviation Administration revised SpaceX’s experimental permit for the rocket prototype to fly as high as 150 meters (492 feet) above ground level. The revised permit was signed Friday and posted to the FAA’s website on Monday morning.
This clears the way for the single-engine version of Musk’s next-generation rocket to take flight once more. Cameron County, Texas, officials have been circulating a notice to local residents advising them to prepare for “space flight activities” from 2 to 2:15 p.m. PT Monday.
Musk later said via Twitter that the test is “tracking to 5 p.m. Texas time,” which is 3 p.m. PT.
SpaceX is not providing an official livestream of Starhopper tests, but a few YouTubers have trained cameras on the SpaceX facility. One of the best views is from LabPadre, embedded below:
Musk later tweeted that the Federal Aviation Administration required a bit more “hazard analysis” and Starhopper “should be clear to fly soon.”to test the single-engine version of its eventual Mars vehicle with its second short flight earlier this month, but the launch was abruptly canceled.
Now the FAA has posted a new airspace closure for the area around the SpaceX test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, beginning Monday afternoon and running through Wednesday night.
With the new permit issued, we could finally see Starhopper make some serious maneuvers. Itswas a short, nighttime 20-meter (66 feet) liftoff, hover and landing that was mostly obscured from view by fire, smoke and darkness.
This time the hope is that Starhopper will reach an altitude of nearly 500 feet (150 meters) before returning to the ground.
If this next hop is successful, Musk has said, he’ll follow it with a public presentation “hopefully mid-September,” updating us on the design and vision for Starship.
In previous presentations from the past few years, Musk has outlined his plans to use his next-generation heavy launcher (also previously known as BFR or Big Falcon Rocket) to help build a, send a group of artists on a and even provide transcontinental travel on Earth.
But before any of that can happen, Starhopper needs to show it has real hopping chops, hopefully soon.
Originally published Aug. 22, 11:05 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:30 p.m.: Adds information on the status of SpaceX’s permit to fly Starhopper from the FAA.
Update, Aug 25: Adds possible Monday test.
Update, Aug 26: Adds revised permit, livestream and launch time.