Following the success of the Raptor engine, SpaceX could take its Mars-colonizing spaceship, previously known as the BFR, out for a spin very soon. The new engines have surpassed a rocketry record held by Russian scientists and engineers for more than two decades. Mr Musk tweeted: “Raptor reached 268.9 bar today, exceeding prior record held by the awesome Russian RD-180.”
The Russian RD-180 is a development of Soviet-era technology and currently, the RD-180 engines are used for the first stage of the US Atlas V launch vehicle.
Mr Musk added: “Raptor just achieved power level needed for Starship & Super Heavy.”
Three Raptor engines like the one tested will be used to power the SpaceX Starship.
The vehicle for manifesting Elon Musk’s dreams of a colony on Mars is under construction in Texas.
Soon SpaceX will begin testing the rocket technology in real life.
Mr Musk’s Starship is held to be the best option for making humanity a multi-planetary species.
Other ways of propelling humanity towards the stars are in development and some from the past have been proposed, such as Project Orion, the atomic bomb powered rocket.
Project Orion was led by British physicist Freeman Dyson.
This unconventional design was intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs.
It was estimated that the nuclear propulsion system in the Project Orion rocket was strong enough to lift a 4,000-ton payload.
The designers envisaged an exit vehicle that was more like an ocean liner than the streamline, weight-conscious conventional rockets we see today.
The US government considered green-lighting the design, then backed down because of concerns over nuclear fallout.