In 15 Seconds, Witness the Sheer Power of SpaceX’s Hulking Raptor Engine

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  • SpaceX conducted a full-duration test of its Raptor Vacuum engine at its McGregor, Texas testing facility.
  • Eventually, this engine could power rockets that will ferry the very first humans to Mars.
  • Yes, we’re drooling.

Nothing like a mach diamond on a Monday morning. SpaceX has fired up its Raptor Vacuum engine, conducting a full-duration test at its rocket development and testing facility in McGregor, Texas. Watch it here:

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The Raptor Vacuum engine is specifically optimized to help propel SpaceX’s Starship rocket through the vacuum of space.

🚀You like badass rockets. So do we. Let’s nerd out over them together.

We’ve previously seen tests of SpaceX’s “sea-level” Raptor, which will help Starship’s Super Heavy booster get off the launch pad. SpaceX also released an image of the Raptor Vacuum engine next to a sea-level Raptor and a person for scale. The “RVac,” as the company has dubbed it, is an absolute monster.

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Starship will have only six Raptor engines, half of which will be vacuum-optimized, according to Starship’s Super Heavy booster, which will be the most powerful rocket ever built, will fire up 28 Raptor engines. Each Raptor generates a whopping 200 tons of thrust.

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Raptor’s vacuum-optimized variant will have a specific impulse—a way of measuring how efficiently a rocket runs through propellant—of around 380 seconds, says SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.

If everything goes according to Musk’s plan, the Raptor will eventually be used to help ferry humans to Mars. It’s long been a dream of Musk’s to expand humanity’s footprint across the solar system and establish a permanent presence on the Red Planet.

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SpaceX has been rapidly producing and testing prototypes of its sleek, stainless steel Starship vehicle. In the past two months, the company conducted two 500-foot hops of a full-length Starship mock-up (and sea-level Raptor engine) and its testing site in Boca Chica, Texas is literally bursting at the seams with Starship prototype parts. In March, Musk said SpaceX will conduct the first orbital test of Starship sometime next year.

Ultimately, Starship will be able to lift around 100 people and approximately 150 tons of cargo into space. Ultimately, Musk says he plans to produce hundreds of these behemoths every year in an effort to “colonize” Mars.

Hear that? It’s the sound of a lot of Raptor Vacuum engines powering to life.

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