SpaceX’s prototype for its gigantic Starship rocket erupted into a massive fireball on Wednesday. But according to CEO Elon Musk, the miniaturized “Starhopper” survived the unexpected event without breaking a sweat.
When asked on Twitter if Starhopper was okay, Musk responded “yeah, big advantage of being made of high strength stainless steel: not bothered by a little heat!”
“Post-test fuel leak, but no major damage,” Musk added.
The static fire test was a routine operation — something that all of SpaceX’s rockets have to endure.
To stay true to its name, Starhopper will soon be attempting its first untethered hop, or test flight, to an altitude of just 65 feet. And that could happen very soon.
If all goes well, SpaceX’s Starship rocket could ferry astronauts to the Moon and far beyond. Two crews of engineers in Texas and Florida are building and testing early versions of the rocket, effectively racing each other to make Starship a reality.
But SpaceX still has plenty of work to do. Starhopper is outfitted with only a single Raptor engine. A fully operational Starship that could bring up to 100 passengers to the Moon will need to accommodate six Raptor engines.
READ MORE: Elon Musk Says SpaceX’s Starhopper Prototype Survived Fireball, May Fly Next Week [Space.com]
More on Starship: SpaceX’s Starship Hopper Completes First Tethered “Hop”