It is bizarre when people wake up to news that their windows may be shattered, not by burglars, but because of a rocket launch. Police in Boca Chica village in Texas have been warning residents that tests of SpaceX's Starhopper prototype today, might break windows the in their homes.
SpaceX is expected to hold a launch in nearby Brownsville and the tests will be held between 4:00 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. ET. According to a Tweet by a local resident who goes only by the name Mary, the police have delivered notices to locals saying that they will warn the residents 10 minutes prior, by sounding police sirens.
"There is a risk that a malfunction of the SpaceX vehicle during launch will create an overpressure event that can break windows. Therefore, in order to protect Public Health and Safety, it is recommended that you consider temporarily vacating yourself, other occupants and pets from the area during the Space Flight Activities. At a minimum, you must exit your home or structure and be outside of any building on your property when you hear the police sirens," the notice reads.
It simply means that the prototype may explode during testing, resulting in an overpressure, which could result in damaging nearby buildings.
SpaceX's Starhopper has been in the works for a long time. It is a part of the company's Starship project. In previous tests, the Starhopper has gone up 65 feet (20 metres) up in the air without being tethered to the ground. This time, the company hopes that it will go up ten times that height, before it returns to the launchpad.
The project is expected to be publicly revealed in September this year.
Generally, these launches are done by establishing safety zones, but this is the first time that local residents have been warned of the reverberations from the launch. The earlier launch resulted in a brush fire that burned 100 acres of a wildlife refuge.
If this launch is a success, the company will go on to launch the Starship MK1, which will have three raptor engines, while the Starhopper has one.