SpaceX’s newest Starship prototype simply roared to life.
The Starship SN10 (“Serial No. 10”) automobile carried out its first “static hearth” check on Tuesday (Feb. 23), lighting up its three Raptor engines for just a few seconds at 6:03 p.m. EST (2303 GMT) at SpaceX’s South Texas web site, close to the Gulf Coast settlement of Boca Chica Village.
Static fires, during which engines briefly ignite whereas a rocket stays anchored to the bottom, are a standard preflight checkout for SpaceX. If all went effectively with right this moment’s check, SN10 stays on monitor to launch quickly — maybe as early as Thursday (Feb. 25) — on a 6-mile-high (10 kilometers) demonstration flight into the South Texas skies.
Starship and Tremendous Heavy: SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing vehicles in images
Starship SN10 static hearth! Hopefully, it was an awesome check. 🔥🚀🔥@NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/J6cVUypRgYFebruary 23, 2021
It will likely be the third high-altitude check for a Starship automobile, after comparable jaunts in December 2020 and Feb. 2 of this yr by SN10’s two rapid predecessors, SN8 and SN9. Each of these flights went effectively till the very finish; SN8 and SN9 slammed laborious onto their touchdown pads, exploding in dramatic fireballs.
Such flights are an important a part of the event path for Starship, which SpaceX sees because the automobile that can make Mars colonization economically possible. The Starship system will include two absolutely reusable components: a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft referred to as Starship and an enormous rocket often known as Tremendous Heavy.
The ultimate Starship could have six Raptors, and Tremendous Heavy will sport about 30 of the engines, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has stated. Starship might be highly effective sufficient to launch itself off the moon and Mars, however the spacecraft will want Tremendous Heavy to get off Earth.
We’ll doubtless see many extra Starship check flights over the approaching weeks and months, regardless of how SN10’s launch goes. Musk just lately stated that SpaceX goals to launch a prototype to Earth orbit this yr, and he envisions Starship carrying people regularly by 2023.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide in regards to the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.