SpaceX powered up a fully assembled Starship for the first time on Monday (Jan. 23), marking a major milestone on the way to the vehicle’s debut orbital flight.
Elon Musk‘s company conducted a “wet suit exercise” with a height of 395 feet (120 meters). Starship On Monday at the Starbase facility in South Texas, he goes through the many procedures he will perform on launch day.
The to-do list includes loading liquid oxygen and liquid methane fuel into the vehicle’s Super Heavy first stage and Starship upper stage. SpaceX Assembled in Starbase’s orbital launch facility earlier this month. This action was recorded by NASASpaceflight.com went live from the long test (opens in new tab)and Boca Chica Rocket Ranch (opens in new tab)his video is featured below (images courtesy of Rocket Ranch’s Anthony Gomez).
“Starship completed its first full flight-like wetsuit exercise at Starbase today. It was the first time the integrated Ship and Booster were loaded with more than 10 million pounds of fuel,” SpaceX He said through Twitter (opens in new tab) on monday evening.
“Today’s test will help verify the full launch countdown sequence, as well as the performance of the Starship and the orbital platform for flight-like operations,” the company added. another tweet (opens in new tab).
Video: For the first time, SpaceX is firing multiple engines on the Starship Super Heavy booster
The success of Monday’s wetsuit exercise puts the Starship, which consists of a Super Heavy prototype called Booster 7 and a Ship 24 upper stage variant, on track for an orbital test flight in the near future.
The mission, which will send spacecraft 24 to Earth once with a targeted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, could launch from Starbase. like next monthMusk said.
However, SpaceX still needs to check some important boxes for this to happen. For example, the company will de-stack the Starship to simultaneously test all 33 Raptor engines of Booster 7. SpaceX’s most powerful such “static fire” test to date with only the vehicle involved 14 Raptors.
The ship caught fire on the 24th all six Raptors this past September.
SpaceX is developing Starship to deliver people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond. NASA chose this vehicle as its first manned lunar landing Artemis programand ordered by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa flying around the moon in a car for himself and a handful of artists and influencers.
SpaceX is also counting on Starship to launch the bulk of its large, new generation Starlink 2.0 internet satellites and taking over almost all of the company’s spaceflight duties at some point down the road.
Although the future of Starship spaceflight is full of action, the vehicle has been scattered on the ground for almost two years now. The latest Starship test flight has taken place May 2021; It sent a three-engine upper-stage prototype called SN15 about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) into the sky above the Starbase.
Several other upper-stage Starship prototypes had made similar journeys, but SN15 was the first to make the landing.
Mike Wall is the author of “There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter. @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).