Elon Musk shows off first firing of SpaceX's Starship Raptor engine

Raptor Engine

Raptor Engine

With a test of this magnitude, with this sort of power inside an engine of this size, a worst-case scenario means fire, and lots of it.

Eccentric tech billionaire Elon Musk's space exploration company Space X has test fired the Raptor engine for its Starship space craft.

Elon Musk and a SpaceX illustration of its Starship rocket on Mars.

'Initially making one 200 metric ton thrust engine common across ship & booster to reach the moon as fast as possible, ' Musk tweeted alongside the footage from the recent tests. "When asked about the color, Musk explained on Twitter, "[The] engine use methox torch igniters.

Separate follow-on versions would be customized for use on the Starship or on the Super Heavy, packing a punch of as much as 550,000 pounds each at liftoff.

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Despite Musk being clearly pleased with the "great work" his team have done on this project, SpaceX laid off around 10% of its workforce, or more than 600 employees, in January.

The first rocket firing happened right around 1AM Central Time on the morning of Sunday, February 3rd, 2019.

SpaceX has been developing the Raptor engine over the last few years as part of its plan to eventually send tourists to Mars. SpaceX tested a development version of the Raptor in September 2016, also at the McGregor site. It will be powered by liquid oxygen (known in the space business as LOX) and cryogenic liquid methane, rather than the LOX/kerosene mix other SpaceX engines have used.

These early tests are vital to Starship's success, but you might remember a couple of weeks back when the Starship was in the headlines for an entirely different reason. And the flight Raptor will boast about twice the thrust of the Merlin version that powers the Falcon 9.

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