SpaceX outlines Starship's next series of tests prior to first orbital flight

SpaceX outlines Starship's next series of tests prior to first orbital flight

SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s goal to make life multiplanetary gets closer with every Starship development milestone reached. Seeing the 390-foot-high rocketship is awe-inspiring, it really makes you believe that civilian space travel en masse will be possible in our lifetime. Musk believes Starship is the ‘key to preserving the light of consciousness.’ “Life can’t just be about solving problems, it has to be about things that inspire you... that move your heart. That when you wake up in the morning, you’re excited about the future,” he said during a presentation in 2022. “ [...] For those who really care about not just the humans but all the life on Earth it is very important, essential that over the long-term we become a multi-planet species, and ultimately, even go beyond the solar system and bring life with us,” said Musk, in reference to all lifeforms on Earth. “You know we are life stewards, life’s guardians, […] the creatures that we love, they can’t build spaceships but we can, and we can bring them with us. I think that’s pretty important for those that care about the environment and care about all the creatures on Earth,” he said. The spacecraft could someday become a modern-day ‘Noah’s Ark’ that could help preserve life on Mars if a catastrophic extinction level event were to threaten all life on Earth. Musk aims to have 'Mars Base Alpha' up-and-running before the year 2050.

On January 12, SpaceX shared a collection of incredible new photos of a fully-stacked Starship at the Starbase launch site in South Texas. The company briefly outlined the next series of tests engineers will conduct before performing the long-awaited uncrewed orbital flight attempt. “Team are stepping into a series of tests prior to Starship's first flight test in the weeks ahead, including full stack wet dress rehearsals [WDR] and hold down firing of Booster 7's 33 Raptor engines,” announced SpaceX. 

The majestic stainless-steel prototypes that will conduct the orbital flight are identified as Starship SN24 and Super Heavy Booster 7. The vehicles have been undergoing preflight preparations for over a year. The flight was delayed mostly due to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducting an extensive Environmental Assessment of the Starbase launch site, which is situated next to a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge, the public Boca Chica Beach access, and multiple historic landmarks. The FAA took a year to complete the assessment and now it must issue a spaceflight license so that SpaceX can finally launch Starship to orbit. During the orbital flight, Super Heavy Booster 7 will propel Starship SN24 to orbit, the booster is expected to land in the Gulf of Mexico ocean as SN24 continues its voyage to space. Starship SN24 will reach an altitude of around 100 kilometers above Earth before conducting a propulsive landing in the ocean off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, near a U.S. military base. “Starship launch attempt soon,” Tweeted Musk. “We have a real shot at late February. March launch attempt appears highly likely,” he stated on January 7. 

This week, Musk confirmed the timeline in response to a NASASpaceflight reporter. –“Does this sound about right, Elon? Cryo[genic proof] test today, then WDR next week. Destack for 33 engine Static Fire. Final TPS [Thermal Protection System] work on [Star]Ship 24. Re-stack. Launch License. Possible end of Feb[ruary]/Early March if all goes well (per your previous timeline)?” asked NASASpaceflight. –“That’s a good guess,” replied Musk. The 33 Raptor V2 engine test is perhaps the most risky test. The methane-fueled engines each produce over 230 tons of force, which has the potential of destroying surrounding infrastructure if something goes wrong. Musk previously said that engineers will proceed carefully. When the 33 engines are ignited for a few seconds, the vehicle will be held down by giant clamps on the launch mount as engineers collect data to assess the rocket’s performance. As of today, SpaceX has only ever test-ignited 14 Raptor V2 engines simultaneously during a long-duration static-firing which took place in November 2022. Each test brings SpaceX closer to returning NASA astronauts to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program, and sending the first humans to Mars. The company will also send a group of dearMoon artists on a circumlunar voyage as soon as the rocketship is operational. Read more: dearMoon reveals who will travel on SpaceX Starship around the Moon [VIDEO] NASASpaceflight has cameras in front of the Starbase launch pad that provide 24/7 Livestream on YouTube, you can check out the company’s progress in the video linked below.

VIDEO: NASASpaceflight 24/7 SpaceX Starbase Launch Site Livestream



》Author's note: Thanks for reading If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Or write your thoughts in the comment section below. Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《   

Featured Images Source: SpaceX


About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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