Elon Musk has recently revealed the first test-fire of the Raptor rocket engine. This is ahead of his speech "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species" at the 67th International Astronautical Conference in Mexico. The Raptor rocket will launch SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).
The Raptor Rocket Engine
According to the Engadget, the Raptor rocket is methane fuel-powered. It is said to be more powerful than that of the Falcon 9. Musk shared that the Raptor was fired at SpaceX's McGregor, Texas facility. It was put on a stand that can handle the extreme thrust. Though Musk did not indicate when the said test was conducted.
He said that the production Raptor goal is a specific impulse of 382 and thrust of 3 MN. Apparently, this is three times more than the current Falcon 9. The Raptor's engine nozzle is about 14 feet in diameter. Musk mentioned that the final version will generate 3 million Newton of force.
Musk promised in Twitter to reveal more details tomorrow during his speech.
The Raptor is being developed to help propel a powerful reusable rocket to Mars and beyond. This is according to Space. It's a part of the SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System. The said spacecraft was previously named the Mars Colonial Transporter.
Musk's Speech At The International Astronautical Conference
Musk is also expected to show the designs of the ITS at the conference. The overall plan for the spacecraft will be unveiled at the event. He might also talk about the budget of the ITS' mission to Mars. Musk will try to convince both the government and scientific community to help pay for the expenses.
The ITS can carry 100 tons of cargo and humans towards Mars. It could be launched as early as 2024. An unmanned Mars mission in 2018 will precede that. The Dragon space capsule and a Falcon Heavy rocket will be used.