MCGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) Workers are renovating a test stand at the SpaceX facility in McGregor so it can be used to test the Raptor engine that will power the private space flight company’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy launch vehicle.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk, in response to a twitter inquiry from NASASpaceflight.com, tweeted, “Yeah, will be Raptor test stand. Hopefully allows simplification of Raptor design, as pump shaft wear & drainage is better in vertical (configuration). Also more representative of flight.”
The stand was originally used to test the company’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket.
The Super Heavy launch vehicle will be powered by 37 Raptor engines and Starship by six.
The Raptor, unlike SpaceX’s earlier Merlin engine, is powered by cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen.
The reusable Starship, which is designed to carry crew and cargo “to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond….will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed,” the company says.