SpaceX Starhopper Moving to Test Launch Pad

Cowboy Dan reports that the SpaceX StarHopper is slowly making her way down Highway 4 on a self-propelled module transporter to the Hopper Test Pad area this morning. Above is a screenshot of livestream video of the SpaceX StarHopper booster section being moved. The new Starhopper nosecone is still being built. The previous nosecone was damaged in high winds.

Maria Pointer took the picture below. has a livestream video of the SpaceX StarHopper move.

SOURCES –, Cowboy Dan twitter, Marie Pointer

Written By Brian Wang

34 thoughts on “SpaceX Starhopper Moving to Test Launch Pad”

  1. Another factor is that adding engines makes it heavier. Possibly just making it more difficult, possibly putting them over some limitation on the transporter or the road they have to move over.

  2. Yes, for now it is just a test pad for Starhopper but once the hop tests are complete they will no doubt begin upgrading to a full orbital launch facility complete with fixed support structure, flame trench, etc. Still it’s remarkable how quickly it came together given it was all just a pile of sand only a few months back!

  3. Digging a little bit, it seems this question is already answered: they are building a new launch pad at Boca Chica as of now. So the rocket factory and the launch pad will be practically one next to the other.

    SpaceX needed a launch pad rated for SH/SS anyway, so that’s the perfect opportunity. They have said this will be a SH/SS exclusive launch pad.

    Historical launch pad 39 would have needed extensive changes to handle the stresses of such a big rocket.

  4. Know they has to move it to launch.
    Just surprised they move it before adding engines.

    As the hopper keep its engines so high they could probably put an flame redirector below it or just an cooled steel plate.

    As it was moved on an public road it might simply be that this was the date they requested the move and they found it easier to just move it and add engines later. Top is much lighter so easier to move.

  5. They moved it because the area they assembled it isn’t suitable for launching, that requires special pavement to avoid the engines excavating a hole and sending dangerous debris in all directions.

    Actually, the usual thing is to have a flame trench with deluge cooling, but apparently they’re skipping that part for the hop tests, because the engine power will be so much lower than a real, fully fueled launch. They’re simulating a returning Starship booster, after all, not one taking off.

  6. US cyber warfare unit already took I.R.A. trolls from the Internet for a few days. I say it’s time for a more permanent solution.

  7. For the first 10 meter up hover tests they don’t need the nose.
    going higher the nose has an major benefit in that the nose cap increases drag then tipped over so it will stabilize engines down at 100 km/h and higher speeds.
    Cap also give lower drag going up.
    No idea why they moved it as they also miss the engines who is pretty important for launch.

  8. HOORAY for SPACE X and the BRILLIANT Mr.Musk,
    How about that SPACE X TEAM boyz they DON’T TAKE a KNEE to ANYONE not even the evil nasty NASA money pitt.

  9. There’s nothing preventing them from doing LEO launches at Boca Chica. And Shotwell seems to be pretty confident they’ll have a path for beyond LEO, fwiw.

  10. It is. They may or may not be working on a second one in order to do lateral “hops”, but at least one is complete.

  11. Still no nose cone – still wondering if they’ll do their first few low altitude/low velocity hops without it – especially if they have to push back the schedule at all to get it added back on. They’ve got a ways to go in testing before aerodynamics become important.

  12. In fact I have the feeling it looks too small. Which is of course due to the rocket missing the tip.

  13. Gives an idea how they will move SH and SS over short distances on the ground.

    But they will need some extra ingenuity for moving them from their Texas construction site to Florida, to be launched.

  14. Thanks for the update … this site is about the only place to get Starhopper updates. But didn’t something else happen with SpaceX today?

  15. There will be, but they haven’t been installed yet. My guess is they figured it’s easier to move now sans engines and nosecone. Just bring those down to the pad separately for final assembly. Already a lot of hardware in there, probably quite heavy.

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