SpaceX has been working hard on the Raptor rocket engine and, this weekend, while everyone was busy watching the Super Bowl, the team was hard at work, flaring up the engine for the very first time at the SpaceX Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas.
Elon Musk has been tweeting about it the entire time and accompanied his tweets with a video of the test firing, which lasted a few seconds.
This very first test was a success, by all accounts, but further tests still need to be taken into account – rocket scientists will study the color of the flame during repeated firings in order to fix any small problem that might actually end up causing much larger ones. But generally, any first rocket engine firing that does not end in a massive fire is a sign that things are going well.
This engine might end up being one of the three engines that will fire up the Starship spacecraft into space. The spacecraft’s first launch is expected as early as 2020.