Elon Musk shows off first firing of SpaceX's Starship Raptor engine

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Raptor is the engine SpaceX intends to use to eventually get to Mars, which is why it has roughly twice the thrust of the Merlin 1D engine used in the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

It comes just days after Musk's Starship prototype was knocked over by 50mph winds in Texas and suffered extensive damages.

SpaceX has a big year ahead of it as it continues to fulfill rocket launch contracts for clients eager to send stuff into space, but it's the company's Starship project that has gotten the most attention from science fans.

Musk tweeted. Videos of the test, also posted by Musk, showed the engine firing for a couple of seconds before shutting down.

Elon Musk on Sunday tweeted videos and pictures revealing the first firing of the new Raptor rocket engine that will power SpaceX's prototype Starship, the vehicle created to carry humans on quick hops across the world and eventually to Mars. "Next versions will split to vacuum-optimized (380+ sec Isp [specific impulse]) & sea-level thrust optimized (~250 ton)".

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This engine uses methox torch igniters, which are in turn started by "gaseous CH4/O2 & heavy duty spark plugs", so said Musk.

In one view shared in a thread on the NASA Spaceflight forum, a large American flag could be seen plastered on the side of one of the huge metal cylinders. By January, Musk had done an exclusive interview with Popular Mechanics detailing why the Starship would be made of stainless steel.

'Unlike Atlas, Starship is buckling stable on launchpad even when unpressurized, ' Musk said.

In a tweet, Musk said he was "so proud of great work" by the SpaceX team.

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