The built-for-flight Raptor engine that is meant for the Starship super-rocket underwent test firing recently. The event was shown off by SpaceX, and the CEO of the company posted some amazing videos on Twitter in celebration of the milestone. One of the tweets among the series of tweets said, ‘So proud of great work by @SpaceX team.’
During the last two years, small scale tests of the methane-powered fueled Raptor rocket engine have been happening. However, the recent test was touted as the ‘first firing of Starship Raptor flight engine.’ The tweeted video caused a sensation among the SpaceX fans who analyzed the video on their Twitter and Reddit accounts.
The Raptor engine is the successor of the Merlin engine. The Merlin engine has been powering the SpaceX’s efforts up till now and is a critical element of the Starship Super Heavy (SSH). The Starship Super Heavy is a huge passenger vessel and rocket system that is aimed at taking people to Mars and bringing them back as well.
The SSH is basically the realization of one of Elon Musk’s original goals for SpaceX. The goal was to manufacture a spacecraft that was powerful enough for carrying out human-crewed missions to Mars. It has also been reported that Musk was so eager to begin SpaceX since NASA was continuing to delay the mission to Mars. NASA has been dealing with budgetary restraints if we are fair. Each successive government has made cuts to NASA’s fiscal allocations. Elon Musk is trying to re-ignite the passion that existed during the Space Race of the 1960s.
The mighty Raptor relies on a mix of Methane and Oxygen. This means that the Raptor engine could potentially be used for the return trip from Mars since both of these elements can be sourced locally on the red planet.