Image: A motorcyclist rides near the SpaceX prototype Starship hopper on Jan. 12 at the Boca Chica Beach site in Texas. SpaceX test-fired a version of the engine that will power its Starship Mars spaceship. (Miguel Roberts / Associated Press)
MAE Professor Ann Karagozian and MAE Associate Professor Richard Wirz were quoted in the Los Angeles Times article “SpaceX test-fire of Mars spaceship’s flight engine is milestone for its engine development” which ran on February 4, 2019.
“It’s a major accomplishment for SpaceX and a major advancement in space engineering,” said Richard Wirz, associate professor in aerospace engineering at UCLA and director of the university’s plasma and space propulsion laboratory.
“It still requires testing and demonstration, but I think it’s a very promising direction to go in,” said Ann Karagozian, a UCLA professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
SpaceX’s Raptor engine uses a highly efficient technique known as full-flow staged combustion cycle. Although it is complicated and has a higher number of parts than other cycles, the result could be a highly reusable engine since its parts operate at a relatively low temperature and thus experience a lower level of stress, Wirz said.