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SpaceX test-fired Raptor engine for first time

Posted on Monday, September 26 2016 @ 14:40:43 CEST by

Just a quick note that SpaceX achieved the first test firing of Raptor, the company's interplanetary transport engine. Raptor is SpaceX's first methane-fueled rocket engine, it's the successor to Merlin, the kerosene-based rocket used by the Falcon 9. The new engine will be used by SpaceX's super-heavy lift launch vehicle, which will be capable of lifting up to 100 tonnes of payload into Mars orbit.

With a production goal of a specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3MN (~310 metric tones) at 300 bar, Raptor is expected to provide over three times the trust of the current Merlin engines. Musk shared on Twitter that chamber pressure is almost three times as high as Merlin's, so the engine will be about the same size for a given area ratio.

The test firing comes just in time for Elon Musk's highly anticipated talk at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which is expected to cover in great detail the company's Mars exploration and colonization plans.

A livestream of the Elon Musk presentation at the IAC will be available over here. His talk will deal with making humans a multiplanetary species, it starts at 14.30 EST and could potentially be the "We choose to go to the Moon" speech of our generation. A lot of people are still very skeptic about private space exploration, but it can't be denied that firms like SpaceX and Blue Origin are changing the space industry in a very disruptive way and I sincerely hope Musk can achieve his dreams.



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