SpaceX’s newest Starship prototype simply roared to life.
The Starship SN10 (“Serial No. 10”) car carried out its first “static hearth” check on Tuesday (Feb. 23), lighting up its three Raptor engines for a couple of seconds at 6:03 p.m. EST (2303 GMT) at SpaceX’s South Texas website, 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 nicely with right now’s check, SN10 stays on observe 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 car, 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 nicely till the very finish; SN8 and SN9 slammed onerous onto their touchdown pads, exploding in dramatic fireballs.
Such flights are a vital a part of the event path for Starship, which SpaceX sees because the car that may 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 referred to as Tremendous Heavy.
The ultimate Starship can have six Raptors, and Tremendous Heavy will sport about 30 of the engines, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has mentioned. Starship can 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 possible see many extra Starship check flights over the approaching weeks and months, regardless of how SN10’s launch goes. Musk not too long ago mentioned 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 creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook concerning the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.