SpaceX is working to launch Starship to orbit this year. The company completed a major pre-flight testing milestone last week when it performed a full duration static-fire test of the Starship rocket’s Raptor engines on February 9. Engineers ignited 31 out of 33 methane-fueled engines simultaneously for the first time, which produced 7.9 million Ibf of thrust (around 3,600 metric tons). The vehicle is capable of generating double that amount at full throttle; when it is operational it will become the world's most powerful rocket. SpaceX could perform the debut orbital Starship flight attempt as soon as March.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson praised the company for completing the major Starship Raptor engine test which takes the company closer to liftoff. “It was great to see SpaceX take a big step forward with Starship's hot fire test!” he captioned the video of the static-fire test, shown below. “Starship is integral to NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture and helping us land astronauts on the Moon. SpaceX’s success is NASA’s success is the world’s success,” said Nelson.
It was great to see @SpaceX take a big step forward with Starship's hot fire test!— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) February 10, 2023
Starship is integral to @NASA’s Moon to Mars architecture and helping us land astronauts on the Moon. SpaceX’s success is NASA’s success is the world’s success. https://t.co/wARDoUG9Ya
NASA selected SpaceX to develop a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to land astronauts on the Moon by 2025 as part of the Artemis program. Long-term, NASA and SpaceX aim to build a permanent base on the Moon and on Mars. Starting with the lunar surface, engineers will develop technologies to support life. The tech will then help humanity to explore the Martian surface. Building permanent bases on the Moon and Mars will enable humanity to conduct science research, have access to abundant precious natural resources, and expand life – which is important for the survival of our species in the event that Earth goes through a massive catastrophic event. SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk with the ultimate purpose to build the first self-sustaining colony on Mars. NASA is under presidential orders to land humans on Mars by 2033, the agency is partnering with commercial companies to make it a reality. If SpaceX speeds up Starship development, landing humans on the Red Planet could happen earlier. Read more: NASA outlines how the SLS Orion & SpaceX Starship will land Artemis III astronauts on the Lunar South Pole
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.