Technology & Science

SpaceX successfully tests its planned Mars rocket

SpaceX has made another leap in its plans to head to Mars, with another successful test of its Starhopper rocket.

Rocket lifted 150 metres off the ground

SpaceX tested its next generation rocket in Texas on Aug. 27. This next-generation rocket will replace the company's Falcon 9 rockets in plans to visit the moon and Mars. 1:45

SpaceX has made another leap in its plans to head to Mars.

On Tuesday, the company's unmanned Starhopper rocket rose roughly 150 metres off the ground in Brownsville, Texas, ending up on an adjacent landing pad. The entire flight lasted just 57 seconds.

"It almost looked like a cartoon or something," nearby resident Cheryl Stevens told Reuters just after Starhopper's Tuesday flight. "After all the buildup, it was kind of nice to actually see it happen."

This is the third test of the glistening, retro-style spacecraft. The last one was in July, when it rose 20 metres into the air., marking the first time the rocket rose without being tethered to the ground.

Starhopper is a mini version of SpaceX's planned Starship that will eventually replace the Falcon 9 rockets currently used to launch satellites as well as bring supplies to the International Space Station. The advantage of Starship will be its ability to launch larger payloads and even a crew to the moon or Mars. 

The whole plan is to launch the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), which will be a reusable spacecraft, beyond Earth. Starship will be the second stage of the rocket, while the first stage will be called the Super Heavy.

Unlike Starhopper, Starship will have windows.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also plans to use Starship for travel on Earth.

—with files from Reuters

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