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SpaceX Test Fires Mars Transport 'Raptor' Rocket

Sep 27, 2016 04:19 AM EDT
Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 1
SpaceX just tested its new and powerful interplanetary raptor engine.
(Photo : Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Elon Musk sure wants to reach Mars in no time. The SpaceX CEO and his commercial space flight company recently their Raptor engine that is capable of interplanetary space flights. It is also said to be capable of sending humans to Mars.

"SpaceX propulsion just achieved first firing of the Raptor interplanetary transport engine," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a Tweet that also contains an image of the raptor engine during the test fire on Sept. 25.

Musk provided various images showing the "interplanetary" raptor test as well as bits of information about the rocket's propulsion system that may take humans to Mars. In one of the photos, "Mach Diamonds" can be seen, these are patterns that are visible when supersonic rocket engines burn and exhaust plumes. The raptor is said to be thrice as powerful when compared to the Merlin engine.

Musk is expected to talk about how he plans to colonize Mars and earlier expressed that his rockets are very powerful that they can go "well beyond" Mars. His Raptor idea was first introduced in October 2012. Raptor will use liquid methane combines with liquid oxygen as fuel as opposed to the kerosene and liquid oxygen of SpaceX Falcon rockets.

 The rocket is expected to take the center stage during Musks speech on the outline of his Mars colonization plans. Aside from the powerful engine, the raptor is also designed to be reusable; this will make space flight and deep space exploration more affordable if it can be reused more than once.

Musk, known for his flair for dropping figurative bombs and cryptic messages did not reveal much information about the powerful rocket. Musk's speech is called Making Humans a Multi-planetary Species and according to Forbes, Musk was quoted saying that it is "going to sound pretty crazy."

The SpaceX CEO already expressed his intent of sending humans to Mars in 2025 and landing an unmanned spacecraft on the red planet as early as 2018.


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