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SpaceX Ignites 33 Super Heavy Engines Successfully For First Time

SpaceX has successfully conducted a 33 engine static fire test of Starship Super Heavy Booster 9 for the first time. 

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Fri Aug 25 2023Written by Zac Aubert

SpaceX has successfully conducted a 33 engine static fire test of Starship Super Heavy Booster 9 for the first time. 


The static fire test took place at SpaceX's Starbase orbital launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, around 1:35 pm EST. During the static-fire test, all 33 engines of the Super Heavy booster were ignited, marking a notable improvement over a previous test conducted on August 6. 

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While two engines shut down prematurely during the recent test, it is considered a substantial advancement from the earlier attempt where four engines experienced premature shutdown just three seconds into firing. The static fire test appeared to last between five to six seconds. SpaceX has not confirmed whether the performance of the test is deemed satisfactory to proceed with an actual launch attempt. 

The succesfully static fire test bring SpaceX one step closer to Starship IFT-2; though no launch date has been announced, it is expected to be only weeks away.

The next Starship launch hinges on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearing SpaceX following the failure of Starship IFT-1 in April. SpaceX has submitted a comprehensive report detailing the failure to the FAA. The agency now needs to review the report and assess the modifications made by SpaceX to prevent a recurrence. 

SpaceX has diligently worked on refining its launch vehicle and facilities based on insights gained from the previous launch experience. One such modification is a water deluge system installed at the launch pad to prevent damage caused by the Raptor plume. The system has been utilized in recent static fire tests. Additionally, the booster now features an interstage ring on top with vents, intended to facilitate a "hot-staging" technique. This approach involves igniting the Starship upper stage engines while still connected to the Super Heavy booster, potentially enhancing the vehicle's overall performance.

Elon Musk has expressed increased confidence in the upcoming launch, citing numerous changes to the vehicle that have been made; stating the probability of a successful launch is notably higher than the previous attempt, perhaps as much as 60%.

As SpaceX continues its relentless pursuit of revolutionizing space travel, all eyes remain on the developments at the Starbase test site, eagerly anticipating the next historic launch of the Starship.