SpaceX Performs First Cryogenic Proof Test Of Super Heavy Rocket That Will Propel A Starship To Orbit

SpaceX Performs First Cryogenic Proof Test Of Super Heavy Rocket That Will Propel A Starship To Orbit

Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube

On Friday, December 17, SpaceX performed the first cryogenic proof test if the Super Heavy rocket that will propel a Starship to orbit during the first orbital flight test attempt next year. The stainless-steel 230-foot-tall rocket is identified as Booster 4, it is equipped with 29 methane-fueled Raptor engines capable of generating over 12 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

During the cryogenic proof test, Booster 4 was mounted on the orbital launch tower and filled with inert liquid nitrogen which is used to pressurize the rocket’s tanks to simulate the high stress it would experience once filled with subcooled propellant in-flight. As seen in the video below, the vehicle started to develop frost and released white clouds as the cryogenic proof test was performed. The proof test also helps engineers see whether the rocket has any leaks.


If engineers gathered enough data from today’s proof test they could move on to conduct a static-fire test of Booster 4’s powerful Raptor engines to assess their performance. If they need more inspection of the vehicle’s structure they could conduct another proof test, or other modifications to the vehicle, before moving on to the next phase of pre-flight testing.

If all of Super Heavy Booster 4’s testing goes well, it will propel the Starship SN20 spacecraft prototype to orbit as soon as January or February. The company is still pending an Environmental Assessment of the Starbase Boca Chica launch site. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said they would complete the assessment by December 31st. Then SpaceX can apply for a launch license to conduct the orbital flight test that would launch Starship from South Texas to land in the ocean off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. Early December, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted SpaceX a license to communicate with Starship via ground-based antennas to receive data during the first orbital flight test. According to the FCC filing, SpaceX targets to conduct the orbital flight before March 1, 2022. You can watch SpaceX Starbase Launch Site operations Live 24/7 in the video linked below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.

VIDEO: LabPadre Starbase Launch Site 24/7 Livestream




Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter & YouTube

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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