SpaceX just lit a very large candle.
The company fired up the engines today (July 11) on Super Heavy, the giant first-stage booster for its next generation. Starship deep space transportation system.
The shooting, which occurred at 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT; 4:20 a.m. Texas local time) at Starbase, SpaceX’s South Texas facility, was not announced and initially led people to speculate on Twitter that it was It was some kind of accident. But the founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk he quickly put that rumor to bed.
“Yes. Booster engine tests,” Musk said via Twitter (opens in a new tab) this afternoon, responding to a follower who had asked if the firing was intentional.
Photos: SpaceX lifts a huge Super Heavy rocket to launch support
Holy molybdenum. Well that was unexpected! https://t.co/dUUqw7ojRv pic.twitter.com/7IGztPuE12July 11, 2022
The Super Heavy in question is Booster 7, who spacex is preparing for Starship’s first orbital test flight. That historic mission could take off in the coming months, if all goes according to plan.
The Starship system consists of the Super Heavy and a 165-foot-tall (50-meter) upper-stage spacecraft called the Starship. Both items will be completely and quickly reusable, which could make the colonization of Mars and other ambitious exploration feats economically feasible, Musk said.
Starship is powered by SpaceX’s brawny new Raptor engine: 33 for the booster and six for the upper-stage spacecraft. Booster 7 sports a full complement of Raptors; it’s not clear from today’s test shot footage, that NASA space flight broadcast live (opens in a new tab)how many of the engines fired.
SpaceX has launched several prototype upper-stage starships on high-altitude test flights, even landing one of them. in May 2021. But the next mission, which will send a Starship vehicle known as Ship 24 into orbit, will be the first Super Heavy launch.
SpaceX is developing Starship to carry people and cargo to the moon, Mars and other faraway destinations. NASA selected the system to be the first human lander to sagebrush, the agency’s lunar exploration program. NASA aims to place astronauts near the moon’s south pole using Starship in 2025 or 2026.
Mike Wall is the author of “out there (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; Illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @migueldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacepointcom (opens in a new tab) or in Facebook (opens in a new tab).