As part of a static test at its Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX on Tuesday continued the simultaneous firing of multiple engines of a prototype Super Heavy booster for its future heavy launch vehicle Spaceship.
In total these are 11 Raptor 2 engines (with a pressure of 230 tons each) which were ignited for a period of about twelve seconds. On November 14, and for about ten seconds, SpaceX had ignited 14 Raptor 2 engines out of the 33 that will equip first floor of Starship.
After the static test on November 14, said Elon Musk that the next test would be a burn of approximately 20 seconds with maximum oxygen loading to test autogenous pressurization.
Super Heavy B7 and Starship S24
The launch with the 11 Raptor 2 engines of the Booster 7 (B7) prototype was ultimately shorter than originally planned. After this test, the boss and founder of SpaceX had raised the possibility of another static test, so long-awaited orbital flight test.
Not sure now that such a schedule will be kept and even more so without a complete test of the ignition of the 33 engines of the Super Heavy prototype. For the Starship (top stage), an S24 prototype has already experienced firing of all 6 of its engines during a static test in September.
It is with the Starship S24 and Super Heavy B7 prototypes that the first orbital flight of the Starship was to take place. During this flight of about 9 minutes, the second stage will be placed in low orbit and will make an atmospheric re-entry for a water landing, but without recovery with a barge.
Orbital flight before 2023?
With a successful orbital flight, the Starship would become the most powerful rocket to fly. An achievement that now and recently belongs to the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, after the start of NASA’s Artemis I mission.
For Starship, SpaceX is aiming for the Moon, including at least two manned missions for a lunar landing as part of the Artemis program, and even the planet Mars. It will first be necessary to succeed in the orbital flight phase, which is behind schedule.