SpaceX fired up an operational, methane-burning Raptor rocket engine for the first time on Feb. 3, marking a key step toward the start of flight tests of a prototype interplanetary-class space transportation system.  Though called the Starship and designed for human missions to Mars and beyond, the superheavy-lift, reusable transport will first cut its operational teeth delivering payloads into Earth orbit, a service currently provided by SpaceX’s Falcon family of rockets, and ...

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