See more gorgeous photos of SpaceX’s Starship engine test (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX has given us a few more dramatic looks at last week’s Starship engine test.
SpaceX fired up Booster 9 — the latest prototype of its Starship first stage, known as Super Heavy — on Friday (Aug. 25) at its Starbase facility in South Texas. All 33 of Booster 9’s Raptor engines engaged during the static fire test, which lasted for about six seconds.
SpaceX livestreamed the trial, so we got to follow the action in real time. And on Monday (Aug. 28), the company posted two beauty shots on X (formerly Twitter), to further burn the static fire into our memories.
Friday’s test was the second such ignition for Booster 9, following an Aug. 6 static fire, which also took place on Starbase’s orbital launch mount.
Booster 9 did better this time; only 29 Raptors lit up during the first static fire. All 33 engaged on Friday, and 31 of them burned for the full six-second duration, according to SpaceX.
The two tests are part of the launch prep for Booster 9, which, along with an upper-stage prototype called Ship 25, will conduct the second-ever test flight of a fully stacked Starship vehicle.
The first such flight occurred on April 20 from Starbase. The goal was to send the upper stage to space and have it come down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. But that didn’t happen; Starship suffered several problems, and SpaceX intentionally destroyed the vehicle four minutes after liftoff.
The goals of the second flight will be similar to those of the first, according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.
Musk wants Booster 9 and Ship 25 to fly soon, but no target date has yet been announced. And SpaceX may still need to clear some regulatory hurdles; the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which issues launch licenses, is apparently still reviewing the mishap report that SpaceX filed about the April 20 flight.