SpaceX breaks records with new Raptor engine

February 11, 2019

 

 

On February 3rd, SpaceX fired up their new Raptor engine for the first time for roughly 3 seconds at the McGregor, Texas testing facility. Raptor uses spark plugs that ignite Methalox torches to start the engines, which allow easy restarts without reloading any ignition fluids like the Merlin Engines use. A few days later, Raptor fired up again and met the power level needed to launch Starship and Super Heavy and reached 257 bar of chamber pressure using warm propellants. Just yesterday, the SpaceX team had the Raptor engine reach 268.9 bar, which surpasses the current chamber pressure held by the RL-180 engine from Russia. Only 250 bar is needed for nominal operation of Starship and Super Heavy, but Raptor could surpass ~300 bar with propellants in Deep Cryogenic temperatures, "If everything holds together".

 

In terms of updates for Starship and Super Heavy, Elon thinks SpaceX may be able to manufacture Starship and Super Heavy for cheaper than the Falcon 9 rocket they currently use for launches - "At least 10x Cheaper". The first generation of Super Heavy will have legs to land on before they start to land it on the launchpad without landing legs. Elon is also thinking of less than $500k-$100k for a trip to Mars with the return trip (if taken) to be free. 

 

 

 

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