Florida today asked in 2021 how SpaceX got such cool names for their rockets. In this article they have a terrific photo of the Falcon rocket. But our favorite Elon Musk name for stuff has to be the Raptor engines. Raptor, love it. The new Starship Raptor engines are bigger and more efficient. On the wings of the Raptor engine, SpaceX hopes to launch the largest rocket, the most powerful launch vehicle ever designed by mankind, or at least since we started chiseling pictograms into granite, approximately 6,000 years.
So, what I’m saying is that maybe the ancient aliens guy was right, we don’t have a written record of a bigger launch vehicle. Or cell phone video. So as far as we know, these new and improved Raptor engines are the biggest most amazing rocket engines ever. Raptor is even a fund sounding word. It sounds like a big mean thing, and whatever it is, it must make a lot of noise too. A raptor should roar and be powerful and more incredible than say, for example, a hamster. A hamster engine would not impress most people.
What is a Raptor?
A raptor is a carnivorous bird of prey that has a hooked beak, sharp talons, and keen eyesight. Raptors are found all over the world and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Some common raptors include hawks, eagles, falcons, owls, and vultures.Raptors are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain. They play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of smaller animals, such as rodents and insects. Raptors are also a popular source of inspiration for artists, writers, and filmmakers.
Here are some of the characteristics of raptors:
- Hooked beak: Raptors have a hooked beak that is used to tear apart their prey.
- Sharp talons: Raptors have sharp talons that are used to catch and hold their prey.
- Keen eyesight: Raptors have keen eyesight that allows them to spot prey from a great distance.
- Carnivorous diet: Raptors are carnivorous, meaning they eat meat.
- Apex predators: Raptors are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain.
- Important role in the ecosystem: Raptors play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of smaller animals.
Are Raptors descendants of dinosaurs?
Birds of prey, commonly known as raptors, are descendants of dinosaurs. In fact, they are considered to be living dinosaurs. Specifically, raptors belong to a group of birds called theropods, which also included the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.
While most dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, some small theropod dinosaurs survived and eventually evolved into birds. Over millions of years, these bird ancestors gradually developed the characteristics we associate with modern birds, including feathers, beaks, and the ability to fly. Raptors are one example of a group of birds that evolved from these dinosaur ancestors.
A Raptor engine sounds even cooler now
The new engine, called Raptor 2, is designed to be more powerful, efficient, and reliable than the current Raptor engine.
Here are some of the key improvements that SpaceX is making to the Raptor 2 engine:
- Increased thrust: The Raptor 2 engine will produce 510,000 pounds of thrust, which is about 15% more than the current Raptor engine.
- Improved efficiency: The Raptor 2 engine will be more efficient than the current Raptor engine, meaning that it will use less propellant to produce the same amount of thrust.
- Increased reliability: The Raptor 2 engine will be more reliable than the current Raptor engine, meaning that it is less likely to fail during flight.
SpaceX is tested the Raptor 2 engine, a critical component of the Starship launch vehicle, in McGregor, Texas. The Starship is designed to be a fully reusable launch vehicle that can carry both crew and cargo to the Moon and Mars.
The April 17 Launch
The Starship was scheduled to launch from South Padre Island, Texas on Monday April 17, but during the countdown sequence engineers detected a frozen valve which was not acceptable.
With 15 minutes left, SpaceX announced a “scrub,” postponing the launch for at least 48 hours. Two days are required to prepare, at the very minimum, for another launch attempt. But this was not a failure.
While managers hoped to launch today, the countdown continued even though it was determined that the sequence was not going to be completed. Engineers and scientists continued a pretend launch and pressed the stop button with seconds to spare. This allowed them to gather valuable information and observe other features including the operation of the launch software further into the process.
Elon Musk used Twitter to say that he thought a frozen pressure valve had prevented the seeing the launch to fruition. He said that this was still a “wet dress rehearsal,” perhaps some dry humor about watching a countdown on a incredibly volatile rocket fully fueled but not intended to complete, this time.
But don’t despair, the Starship orbital launch will be the culmination of several years of regulatory work and technological tests. Company leadership has repeatedly stressed the experimental nature of the launch. SpaceX had hoped to conduct the first orbital Starship launch as early as summer 2021, but technological challenges and government delays pushed back the date.
But now we are close, and in the days or week to come, we will see either a spectacular advance in technology, or a disappointing failure. Odds are that fail or succeed, we’ve learned a tremendous amount.