SpaceX news: Watch incredible test fire of the powerful Raptor engine – ‘Go SpaceX!’

The SpaceX video shows 15 seconds of the Raptor Vacuum engine spewing a jet of scorching gas. The Raptor Vacuum is a variant of the firm’s Raptor family of engines designed for use in space. The engine will one day serve SpaceX’s proposed fleet of Starships – a spacecraft designed to ferry humans to and from Mars.

SpaceX tweeted: “Completed a full duration test fire of the Raptor Vacuum engine at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.”

The short video starts with a puff of smoke from the rocket engine’s nozzle, followed by a jet of gas.

The sheer power of the rocket engine is causing the camera to vibrate.

Within the jet is a bright, white plume – a so-called mach diamond or shock diamond.

Mach diamonds occur when a jet exhaust travels faster than the speed of sound and at pressures different to the atmosphere.

The video, which was posted online on Friday, has since been seen more than two million times.

One excited SpaceX fan tweeted in response: “Go SpaceX!!!”

Another person said: “That looks crazy the flame looks so nice.”

And a third tweeted: “Wow! The power of RVac is incredible.”

Will do several flights to confirm working well

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO

The vacuum engine is similar in build to the sea level variant of the Raptor but has a considerably larger nosecone.

The design allows for better performance in the vacuum of space.

SpaceX also shared a photo of the engine next to a woman at the company’s facility in Hawthorne, California, showing off just how big the engine is.

Six of these rocket engines – three of each variant – will be fitted on Starship.

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The 165ft-tall (50m) spacecraft will launch into orbit aboard a Super Heavy booster rocket and use its vacuum engines in space on its journeys to the Moon, Mars and Beyond.

Because the gravitational pull of the Moon and Mars is weaker than on Earth, the spacecraft will not need the additional boost into space when launching from those bodies.

The Super Heavy is expected to boast a total of 28 sea level Raptors.

And the spacecraft, together with the Super Heavy, is designed to be entirely reusable much like the Falcon 9 rocket.

The stainless steel Starship is currently under development with SpaceX building smaller SN prototypes at its Boca Chica facility in Texas.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk, 49, recently confirmed on Twitter the SN8 prototype will attempt a 50,000ft (15km) test flight.

The original plans envisioned Starship going straight into a 60,000ft (18km) launch after a series of smaller 500ft (150m) hops.

Mr Musk tweeted: “We just need enough height to test body flaps & drawing propellant from headers vs main tanks.

“Will do several flights to confirm working well, then add heat shield & go high Mach.”

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