SpaceX continues to perform testing of its next-generation rocket. The 230-foot-tall stainless-steel Super Heavy rocket is under development at the Starbase facility in South Texas. "Full duration 20 second static fire of Super Heavy Booster 7," announced SpaceX on August 11. Booster 7 is the first rocket prototype that will attempt to propel the Starship spacecraft to orbit this year. During the static-fire, a single Raptor engine was ignited for 20 seconds while engineers collected data of the methane-fueled engine's performance. It is the first long duration engine test of the Super Heavy booster. SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared the "long duration engine firing [is] to test autogenous pressurization," he said. NASASpaceflight shared a video of Booster 7 roaring to life at Boca Chica Beach, linked below.
About to attempt long duration engine firing to test autogenous pressurization— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 11, 2022
After the ground test was completed, SpaceX workers transported the booster from the launchpad to the rocket factory less than 5-miles down State Highway 4 road. The booster was equipped with only 20 outer engines at that time –"Adding the 13 inner engines," Musk shared on August 12, alongside a cool video of the giant booster inside the vehicle assembly building. With a total of 33 Raptor V2 engines, Super Heavy is set to become one of the most powerful launch vehicles. Once installed, SpaceX will continue to perform static-fire testing of the engines in the days ahead.
Adding the 13 inner engines pic.twitter.com/ooOFEGl0Hr— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2022
SpaceX already completed a static-fire test of two Raptor V2 engines on the Starship SN24 prototype on August 9. The spacecraft will also undergo more preflight testing before being stacked atop Booster 7 with the launch tower's robotic arms. SpaceX has not set a specific date to attempt the first-ever orbital flight test. According to a SpaceX license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use Starlink to communicate with Starship during the upcoming orbital flight, the flight could take place sometime between September 1st through March 1st. If testing goes well this month, we could watch Booster 7 launch Starship SN24 to orbit as soon as next month. However, SpaceX is still pending a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spaceflight license to perform the orbital flight test during which Starship SN24 will liftoff from the southernmost tip of Texas, circle Earth, and land in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Static fire test of two Raptor engines on Starship 24 pic.twitter.com/NNpViztphI— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 10, 2022
According to an FCC document which states SpaceX has approval to use Starlink to communicate with Starship during the demo orbital flight— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo ♡ (@JaneidyEve) August 11, 2022
anytime between September 1st through March 1st pic.twitter.com/EwE1DyeyAK
Featured Image Source: SpaceX Founder & Chief Engineer Elon Musk