The space company conducted a triple-fire Raptor steady-fire test of its next-generation spaceflight system on Wednesday at SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, which briefly showed the three engines of the experimental vehicle lit up.
“It looks like it was only a second or so,” said Chris Bergin of NASASpaceflight.com, “but that could be by design to protect the pad and keep getting the data they want.”
The static fire test is part of a routine series of checks before the test begins. Due to a shorter-than-expected test launch on Wednesday, a second static fire test may take place on Thursday. If all goes according to plan, the test launch could come as early as Friday.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. It ordered the closure of roads around the facility area For “Expected SpaceX Test Launch Activities” from 8 am to 5 pm local time Thursday and Friday. according to Federal Aviation AdministrationIn addition, restrictions are imposed on the airspace around Boca Chica on Saturday and Sunday as well.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
A possible test launch of the SN9 comes after its predecessor SN8 made its first successful flight at a high altitude last month, reaching the same altitude as commercial aircraft.
The successful test was followed by a return to Earth with a new “flip-flop maneuver,” which appeared to guide the missile. However, the ship reached the launch pad very quickly, encountering a fiery end.
“Successful ascent, shift to head tanks and precise flutter control to the landing point!” Musk tweeted at the time. “The fuel head tank pressure was low during the descent combustion, which caused the descent speed to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed!”
Starship is a completely reusable transportation system designed to transport both crew and cargo to Earth’s orbit, the moon, Mars, and beyond. The Starship is expected to be the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed in the world, with the capacity to carry over 100 metric tons into Earth orbit.
In addition to SN9, SpaceX’s SN10 is said to be nearing completion. In response to an unofficial edited aerial photo showing two Starships at the SpaceX launch pad in southern Texas, Musk quipped that multiple spacecraft test operations could become a reality “soon”.