SpaceX achieved a significant milestone on Monday, June 26, as it successfully performed a static-fire test of Starship SN25, the upper-stage prototype intended for the second flight attempt to orbit. The test took place at 7:27 p.m. Central Time at SpaceX's Starbase Texas launch facility; it involved igniting all six of SN25's Raptor engines for approximately five seconds. Static fire tests are routine pre-launch procedures that verify the functionality and performance of a rocket's engines while the vehicle remains firmly grounded to the launch mount.–"Key milestone completed for flight 2," said SpaceX founder Chief Engineer Elon Musk today after the test ignition. The aerospace company shared a video clip of the static-fire test operation, linked below. Each Raptor V2 engine is capable of generating 230 tons of thrust at full throttle.
Musk estimates that the second Starship test flight could take place in six weeks or so. This upcoming mission will make use of Super Heavy Booster 9, a first-stage rocket prototype that will propel SN25 into space which begins at an altitude of at least 100 kilometers. Once in orbit, the upper-stage vehicle is expected to partially circle around Earth before making a controlled landing in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian coast. The objectives of this upcoming mission align closely with those of the first fully-integrated Starship test launch, which took place on April 20 from Starbase. The first flight reached a maximum altitude of 39 kilometers above Earth and achieved several notable milestones, though the test ended 4-minutes into the flight when SpaceX triggered the Flight Termination System after the rocket's engines encountered issues and the vehicle’s did not separate. During a recent Twitter Spaces discussion, Musk shared that SpaceX's primary objective for the upcoming test flight is "stage separation" – to ensure the Starship separates from the booster in-flight. Read more: SpaceX's $3 Billion Starship Investment: Elon Musk highlights overhauls & projects 60% chance of reaching orbit on 2nd launch attempt. Soon after separation, Booster 9 would perform a propulsive ocean landing in the Gulf of Mexico near Boca Chica Beach, Texas.
Key milestone completed for flight 2 https://t.co/bGmWKOnKEH— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 27, 2023
Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever constructed, its first-stage booster features 33 Raptors that generate approximately 17 million pounds of thrust during liftoff. The rocket is expected to also undergo a static-fire test in the weeks ahead during which engineers will assess its performance ahead of liftoff. With the successful completion of the static-fire test for Starship SN25, SpaceX continues to advance the development of its Starship program, inching closer to realizing its ambitious vision of transforming space travel, returning NASA astronauts to the Moon, and ultimately Mars colonization. As the launch date approaches, anticipation builds for another milestone moment in the evolution of space exploration.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX via Twitter
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.