SpaceX’s senior advisor for national security space solutions, Gary Henry, participated at the Space Mobility conference on February 21st where he shared that the company is ready to perform the first-ever orbital Starship flight. “We had a successful hot fire, and that was really the last box to check. [...] The vehicle is in good shape. The pad is in good shape,” he said. “Pretty much all of the prerequisites to supporting an orbital demonstration attempt here in the next month or so look good.”
He adds the company still needs an FAA launch license but expects that in the "very near future." Tells the audience to expect some "must-see TV" sometime in March.— Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) February 21, 2023
SpaceX’s Super Heavy Booster 7 could propel Starship SN24 to orbit as soon as March after the successful 31 Raptor engine static-fire test which took place on February 9. The test is one of the final major milestones engineers had to complete successfully before performing the long-awaited spaceflight. It marked the first time they ignited 31 out of 33 Raptor V2 engines simultaneously – “Team turned off 1 engine just before start & 1 stopped itself, so 31 engines fired overall. But still enough engines to reach orbit!” announced SpaceX founder Elon Musk soon after the static-fire test. “Super Heavy Booster 7 completed a full duration static fire test of 31 Raptor engines, producing 7.9 million lbf of thrust (~3,600 metric tons) – less than half of the booster’s capability,” shared SpaceX.
First static fire attempt of 33 Raptor engines on Booster 7 https://t.co/3haor6owfa— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 9, 2023
During the conference, Henry suggested that Starship Booster 7 is ready for liftoff and that SpaceX might not perform another static-fire test of all the 33 Raptors. However, the company is still pending a spaceflight license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to lift off to orbit from the Starbase launch site at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, and land the spacecraft in the ocean along the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. “We hope to secure that license in the very near future,” said Henry, “probably in the month of March.” Henry also mentioned that if the debut Starship orbital flight is a success, more launches will rapidly follow to begin deployment of Starlink satellites. Launching many Starlink missions will enable engineers to develop a reliable Starship that could safely launch astronauts by 2025 when NASA plans to land an Artemis III couple on the lunar surface.
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All Featured Images 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.