Rewatch SpaceX's spaceship prototype Starhopper fly, land in Texas

Second attempt a success for SpaceX interplanetary spaceship test vehicle

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

It looked like something out of science-fiction Tuesday evening in South Texas as SpaceX's interplanetary spaceship, nicknamed "Starhopper," took its second and highest "hop" yet, and stuck a landing.

The second test flight of the water-tank looking spacecraft launched Tuesday just after 6 p.m. at the SpaceX site in Boca Chica, Texas. The spaceship -- missing its nosecone -- fired its Raptor engines, hovered and touched down at a nearby site less than one minute later.

"Congrats SpaceX team!!" SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet shortly after the hop test.

The spaceship prototype was expected to fly to 500 feet.

The first attempt by SpaceX to test "Starhopper" on Monday evening was put on hold at the last second, only to be scrubbed more than 30 minutes later after the countdown clock started again.

Starhopper is a small-scale test version of Starship, SpaceX's interplanetary spacecraft in development. Starship will launch from Kennedy Space Center as soon as next year.

Tuesday's test is the second for Starhopper at the Texas facility. In July, SpaceX conducted the first test hop of the spacecraft and landing.

Musk took to Twitter Monday night after the first attempt to say the igniters need to be inspected and they would try again Tuesday.

Musk said the first "hop" in July was a success but it's unclear how high the vehicle flew. 

"Water towers *can* fly," he said.

A prototype of Starship is also being constructed in Cocoa. SpaceX plans to move the 16-story spaceship 20 miles to NASA's Kennedy Space Center possibly as soon as this fall, a News 6 public records request revealed.

In a tweet last month, Musk indicated that both Starship prototypes could be ready to "fly" in September or October. 

Ultimately, SpaceX plans to mount Starship on top of a large booster rocket called Super Heavy, powered by 31 Raptor engines, creating a 400-foot-tall spacecraft. It's SpaceX's fully reusable spacecraft designed for human and spacecraft launches to the moon and Mars.

SpaceX plans to land Starship at Landing Zone 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Super Heavy will touch down on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean several miles offshore.

According to the environmental impact report, SpaceX eventually plans to launch the spaceship about 24 times a year.

Check back for updates.

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