Early Tuesday morning, SpaceX engineers reached another major milestone: Starship’s ship first went live with multiple Raptor engines. SpaceX now appears to be ready to fully assemble the spacecraft for its 15km test flight, Ars Technica reports.
At 3:13 am local time in South Texas, a Starship prototype dubbed SN8 (or serial number 8) fired three Raptor engines for a few seconds during a static fire test. Although there was no immediate confirmation from the company, the test at the Boca Chica cosmodrome was successful.
It’s worth noting that this is an important step towards getting the SN8 ready for its 15km test flight later this month or early November. One team was preparing to fire a rocket in the wee hours of Tuesday, testing its systems for chilled liquid oxygen and methane fuel readiness, as well as the recent installation of three Raptor engines. In turn, the other team assembled a nose cone that will be mounted on top of the rocket.
The development of the SN8 prototype itself proceeded relatively quickly. This fall, SpaceX built the SN8 core and transported it from its South Texas factory barns to a nearby launch site in early October. From 6 to 8 October, it underwent three “proof tests” to ensure the designers were able to ensure the integrity of the large stainless steel fuel tanks. SN8 then completed a static fire test – the moment of truth for any launch vehicles – early Tuesday morning.
SpaceX expects Starship to eventually replace the Falcon 9 working rocket. Recall that in just ten years it has become the most “experimental” rocket in the United States – it has already 95 launches. Starship is slated to send cargo missions, and ultimately SpaceX will be able to send large crews to the Moon and Mars. NASA has already awarded the company an initial $ 135 million contract to study plans to land astronauts on the moon as part of its Artemis program.