Starship, the SpaceX spacecraft under construction, completed its first static three-engine test fire.
At the Boca Chica facility in Texas early Tuesday morning, the Starship “SN8” prototype shook the ground when its three Raptor engines fired without firing the rocket.
This type of test is one of the last, which is usually done before a rocket flies. This is the first time a Starship prototype has launched three engines at the same time, and this could be one of the last obstacles before launching the ship to new heights.
Starship is key to future SpaceX plans. The company aims to fly on the moon, Mars and beyond, with a fully reusable structure powered by liquid oxygen and methane. So far, prototypes equipped with a single engine have flown up to 500 feet in the air. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the new model could reach much higher ̵
The final model will reach greater heights. The ship will be equipped with three engines at sea level, just like the SN8, and will also offer three larger vacuum Raptors for space navigation. The Super Heavy booster, which will lift the ship out of the Earth’s atmosphere, adds 28 more engines to the base.
The ship itself is about 160 feet high and 30 feet wide, but when paired with the booster, the entire ship will measure about 400 feet.
The last launch is a little closer to that moment. Watch the video below:
This is unlikely to be the last static shot before launch. Musk explained last month that the team would complete inspections after the first shot, before firing a second time before the flight.
Progress has sparked the imagination of a community of artists and fans. Minnesota-based 3D artist Bart Caldwell shared a rendering last week that imagined what the SN8 would look like when it launched. Caldwell explained the project “made me dream again and get inspired for the future, which is really important to me as a person and as an artist.” Musk himself described Caldwell’s latest work as “great.”
SpaceX is planning higher and higher flights ahead of a future orbit attempt, tentatively scheduled for 2021. During the Martian Society’s annual convention last week, Musk suggested that this was not certain.
“I’m 80 to 90 percent that we’ll reach orbit with Starship next year,” Musk said. “I think probably 50 percent are confident that we will be able to get the ship and the booster back.”
These first booster flights are unlikely to include the full number of engines – Musk says they are more likely to attach about two or four engines to the booster instead of the full 28.
From there, SpaceX aims to make full flights as early as 2022. The first cargo ships designed to support a future manned mission could reach Mars by 2024. All this is preparation for the construction of a city of millions by 2050.
The Back analysis – SpaceX tests become more dramatic visually. From single-engine flights with the miniaturized Starhopper in August 2019 to the sending of silos 12 months later, the concepts depicted in the art on the company’s website are slowly coming to life.
Although Musk did not share the feat on his Twitter page – which seems to be his preferred method of revealing news – static fire news spread like wildfire thanks to footage from NASA space flight and fans in the Reddit and Twitter communities.
As SpaceX is expected to host a Starship-focused event sometime this month, fans seem eager to see what’s next.
THE STAR’S JOURNEY, SUMMARY