Evolution of the SpaceX Raptor Rocket Engine

Unlike legacy aerospace companies, SpaceX has taken a Silicon Valley style rapid iteration process approach to the development of its rocket engines. While NASA’s Space Launch System will be powered by the same RS-25 engines used on the Space Shuttle, whose development began in 1970, the SpaceX Merlin engine used on Falcon 9 has gone through four major design revisions since the company’s founding in 2002, plus development of vacuum-optimised variants for use on upper stages.

The Raptor engine for Starship and its Super Heavy booster is following the same path, with two major generations before its first orbital flight test. In this video Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd examines the changes between Raptor 1 and 2, the design goals that motivated them, and prospects for future development of the engine.


Tim Dodd is producing a lot of worthy content these days.

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