Investor-engineer Elon Musk’s Mars rocket Starhopper pulled off an impressive launch and landing on Tuesday – successfully completing its final test. The rocket embarked on a flight of 492 feet before smoothly landing back on its launchpad in SpaceX’s South Texas facility.
The stubby 60-foot “water tower”, as Musk calls it, completed its first test in July when it flew for roughly ten seconds. Tuesday’s test was preceded by a failed attempt on Monday, when a wiring problem with the engine’s igniters resulted in the test being aborted.
Tuesday’s test was also the last flight of this prototype, but it was a stepping stone for Musk’s Mars mission. The Starhopper is a steel prototype of the Starship that SpaceX hopes will one day carry 100 people and 150 tonnes of cargo to Mars.