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StarHopper a.k.a "Hoppy"

The first Prototype SpaceX used as a preliminary test bed for some of the systems for Future Starship models.


  • Hoppy
  • Flying Trashcan
  • Flying Water tower


  • On 3 April 2019, the first static test fire was conducted using 1 Raptor engine, while tethered.
  • A second tethered test followed on 5 April.
  • In June 2019, a one year experimental permit was issued to fly Starhopper including pre-flight and post-flight ground operations by the FAA.
  • On July 25th 2019 The maiden Flight for Starhopper, which included the first in-flight test of a full-flow staged combustion rocket engine. The height reached was 18 meters( 59 feet) and the flight lasted 22 seconds
  • On August 27th 2019, the second and final test of the Starhopper carried it to the height of 150 meters (490 feet) with a transition sideways and back down to different pad from where it started.
  • Starhopper was retired, striped of its engine and other parts, and moved next to the fence near the entrance to the launch site area where it sits today.

Hoppy Today

Hoppy remains a major landmark of the launch site and a key piece of infrastructure. The tanks have been repurposed for water storage, and Hoppy is kitted out with numerous pieces of equipment:

  • A number of 'Photon Cannons': large LED floodlights. These wreck havoc with the LabPadre tower's cameras at night.
  • A number of smaller floodlights. In combination with the photon cannons, these give Hoppy a "derpy" appearance.
  • A number of loudspeakers for the site PA system. Announcements from these can be picked up on the LabPadre Launch Pad Camera.
  • A marine X-band radar to assist with range monitoring.
  • Numerous cameras for both security and monitoring of tests.
  • A weather station for monitoring of the local conditions.
  • Hoppy also provides shade for the SpaceX employee break area underneath it.