The massive moon and Mars spacecraft are getting closer to its first orbital flight in the coming months thanks to SpaceX’s towering Super Heavy booster, which is one-half of the company’s Starship rocket system. The test-firing took place on Thursday.
During a “static fire” test (Feb. 9) at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas, Booster 7, a Starship first-stage prototype, fired 31 of its 33 Raptor engines.
During the test at 4:13 p.m. EST, the intention was to fire all 33 Raptors (2113 GMT; 3:13 p.m. local Texas time).
The length of the static fire was seven seconds, as planned by SpaceX, the company said. Additionally, there is cause for celebration because Booster 7 survived the enormous cloud of kicked-up dust intact.
The Reusable Spacecraft
SpaceX sees Starship as a potentially ground-breaking mode of transportation that may make Mars colonization and other expensive off-Earth projects feasible. A massive rocket named Super Heavy and an upper-stage spacecraft called Starship makes up the two components of the stainless-steel vehicle.
The next-generation Raptor engine from SpaceX, which has 33 for the booster and six for the upper stage, powers both Starship and Super Heavy. Both are intended to be completely reusable spacecraft.
The Powerful Rocket Ever to Fly- Booster 7-Ship 24
SpaceX has been preparing Booster 7 and a Starship prototype known as Ship 24 for an orbital flight test for several months. These efforts have included a fuelling test with the pair, which the business completed on January 23, and several static fires, which are prelaunch tests in which engines are momentarily ignited while a vehicle is anchored to the ground.
Last September, Ship 24 ignited all six of its Raptors at Starbase, and two months later, Booster 7 ignited 14 of its 33 engines. Up until today’s test, which checked a significant box on the way to an orbital attempt, it was the huge first stage’s static-fire high.
Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of SpaceX, had stated that if the remaining checkouts go well and today’s test goes as smoothly as it appeared to, the eagerly awaited flight might take place as early as next month.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which made its debut on Nov. 16 on NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission, will be replaced by the Booster 7-Ship 24 combinations during that test mission, making it the most powerful rocket to ever fly.
On that liftoff, SLS produced 8.8 million pounds of force. At maximum power, SpaceflightNow estimates that Super Heavy’s 33 Raptors generate 16.5 million pounds of thrust.
The Starship Potentials
Before putting people on board Starship, President and COO Gwynne Shotwell expressed the hope that the company would fly more than 100 test flights in orbit. This is because the company will need to do so to support NASA’s 2025 Artemis III mission, which is scheduled to carry out a moon landing.
When questioned on Wednesday if the objective was still attainable, Shotwell responded, “I believe it would be a terrific aim.” I don’t think we’ll fly the Starship 100 times next year, but we might in 2025.
Anything SpaceX has flown before pales in comparison to the Starship system. With the help of its Falcon rockets, the business has completed nearly 200 missions, including launches of astronaut crews and military satellites. However, Starship is far more potent and built with the express intention of traveling to the moon and Mars as well as further into the solar system.
If everything goes as planned for the test flight, booster 7 will return to Earth in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after takeoff. In the Pacific Ocean, close to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Ship 24 will make one complete orbit of our globe before coming to rest.