SpaceX engineers test fire Starship SN9's Raptor engines ahead of Flight Test

SpaceX engineers test fire Starship SN9's Raptor engines ahead of Flight Test

Featured Image Source: @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter

SpaceX is preparing to perform the next high-altitude Starship flight test at the South Texas Launch Facility in Boca Chica Beach. The Starship SN9 vehicle has been undergoing preflight testing for the past couple of weeks. This afternoon SN9 roared to life during a static fire test to assess its engines' performance. At around 4 p.m. Central Time, engineers ignited Starship SN9's three Raptor engines for a few seconds as the stainless-steel vehicle remained grounded to a test stand. Boca Chica residents captured footage of the brief ignition, shown in the video below.





If today's test went well, SpaceX plans to launch the Starship SN9 vehicle over the weekend (date is subject to change). According to a Federal Aviation Administration Temporary Flight Restriction notice, SpaceX plans to perform a 12.5-kilometer flight sometime starting Friday, however, it is likely the flight would take place on Saturday, January 9 or Sunday, January 10; each date has a launch window scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time. You can watch SpaceX operations Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube. The company will continue to prepare the vehicle ahead of launch day. 



Starship SN9 is expected to replicate its predecessor’s launch path during its upcoming flight test. The Starship SN8 vehicle performed the first-of-its-kind aerodynamic flight in which it propelled 12-kilometers above Boca Chica beach powered by three Raptors. During the flight, SN8 shutdown its engines and used its flaps to glide down the sky to perform a 'belly flip' maneuver. Upon descent, SN8 attempted a propulsive landing and exploded (video above). Engineers aim to replicate the flight and attempt to ace the landing this time around. Each test takes SpaceX closer towards developing the launch vehicle. The company is working on a tight timeframe, it aims to have a space-ready Starship before the year 2023. Starship’s first private passenger, a Japanese entrepreneur named Yusaku Maezawa, purchased a voyage around the Moon by then. He dreams of inviting his favorite artists on the space tour to create inspiring art during the voyage. NASA is also investing in Starship’s development. The agency contracted SpaceX to develop a Starship Lunar Lander to take astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.




Featured Image Source: @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn 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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