(Image credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX)
SpaceX fired seven engines on its Starship Super Heavy prototype “Booster 7” on Monday (Sept. 19), marking the highest number of the company’s new Raptor engines ever tested at the same time.
The company is testing some of Booster 7’s engines ahead of its planned first orbital flight of Starship, a 165-foot tall (50 meters) reusable spacecraft that will be lifted to orbit by 33 next-generation Raptor engines inside a Super Heavy booster, which stands 230 feet (70 m) tall. Starship will feature six of the engines.
To prepare for Starship’s maiden orbital flight, SpaceX has been conducting “static fire” tests in which one or more engines are ignited while the vehicle remains stationary on the ground.
Following today’s static fire test, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the chamber pressures on all seven of the engines “looked good (opens in new tab).”
In a subsequent tweet, Musk stated (opens in new tab) that “Booster 7 now returns to high bay for robustness upgrades & booster 8 moves to pad for testing,” adding that the company’s next big Starship system test will be a “full stack wet dress rehearsal, then 33 engine firing in a few weeks.” The “full stack” consists of Starship atop a Super Heavy booster rocket, which together make up the world’s tallest rocket at a whopping 395 feet tall (120 m).
Booster 7 now returns to high bay for robustness upgrades & booster 8 moves to pad for testing.Next big test is probably full stack wet dress rehearsal, then 33 engine firing in a few weeks.September 19, 2022
This most recent SpaceX static fire has doubled the number of engines seen in its last Super Heavy test conducted on Aug. 31, during which the company performed a static fire with three Raptor engines. That marked the first multi-engine static fire the company has conducted on the Super Heavy booster, although SpaceX previously tested two of Starship’s six Raptors simultaneously in an Aug. 9 static fire.
SpaceX has not released a projected date for the test of its full Starship stack, but has signaled that it aims to launch the vehicle for an orbital test in the coming months.