At 1:38 p.m. EDT (1638 GMT) today (Aug. 25), the Starship first-stage prototype, also known as Booster 9, carried off its second “static fire” test by briefly lighting its Raptor engines while mounted atop the orbital launch platform at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas.
Representatives of SpaceX reported during a livestream of today’s test that the engines burned for around six seconds, exactly as intended.
This was Booster 9’s second test of this nature; on August 6, the massive vehicle ignited 29 of its 33 Raptors in a static fire. Today, each of the 33 ignited.
All 33 Raptor engines were successfully ignited by the static fire from Super Heavy Booster 9, with all but two remaining operational throughout. I’d want to congratulate the SpaceX crew for reaching this important milestone. In a message this afternoon on X (formerly Twitter), SpaceX stated.
The two static flames are a part of the setup for a fully stacked Starship’s second-ever test flight. On the mission, Booster 9 and Ship 25, an upper-stage prototype, will both launch.
On April 20 of this year, the first Starship test launch, with a splashdown planned in the Pacific Ocean close to Hawaii, was intended to propel an upper stage halfway around the planet. But that didn’t happen; the vehicle’s two stages didn’t separate as planned, and SpaceX instead ordered Starship to self-destruct, which caused it to crash into the Gulf of Mexico high in the air.
Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of SpaceX, claims that after that first flight, the organization made more than 1,000 design changes to Starship.
For example, the Starship’s upper stage will now start firing its six Raptor engines before entirely detaching from the Super Heavy booster thanks to the company’s switch to a “hot staging” plan. Between the first and second static fires, SpaceX had to modify Booster 9 by installing a venting system and a heat shield on the top.
The organization also put up a water-deluge system underneath Starbase’s orbital launch mount in an effort to stop the damage the April 20 liftoff did to the launch pad.
Musk wants Ship 25 and Booster 9 to launch soon, although he has limited control over the timing: The FAA, which grants launch licenses, is reportedly still investigating the disaster report that SpaceX filed on the initial launch.