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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.
- 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 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.