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SpaceX’s Starhopper takes one small hop

After weeks of preparation, the prototype test vehicle for SpaceX’s monster spaceship, known as Starhopper, fired up its methane-powered Raptor rocket engine for the first time today and lifted ever so slightly off its Texas launch pad.

“Starhopper completed tethered hop,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reported in a tweet. “All systems green.”

The round-topped rocket is meant to serve as a testbed for SpaceX’s interplanetary-class Starship, just as earlier testbeds known as the Grasshopper and the F9R Dev blazed a trail for SpaceX’s self-landing Falcon 9 rocket boosters.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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