SpaceX performs successful engine test on Starship Booster 9

The latest static fire engine test is part of SpaceX's final preparations for the second test flight of Starship.
Chris Young
The Booster 9 static fire engine test.
The Booster 9 static fire engine test.

SpaceX / X 

SpaceX has successfully performed another static fire engine test on its Super Heavy prototype, Booster 9.

The company is preparing for the second flight test of the massive rocket and CEO Elon Musk recently stated it could happen "soon."

However, reports have recently emerged that wildlife officials were left "stunned" by the damage caused by Starship on its first test flight. Starship is almost ready to fly, but it could take a while for SpaceX to get the green light for launch number two.

SpaceX prepares for next Starship launch

For its latest static fire engine test, SpaceX fired all 33 Raptor engines on Booster 9 for a few seconds. The test took place at 15:35 EDT on August 25 at SpaceX's Starbase test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

The private space company stated it carried out a "full duration" firing, lasting approximately six seconds. Static fire tests fire a rocket's engines while anchored to the ground so that it won't take flight, allowing engineers to perform key pre-launch checks and preparations.

In a post on Twitter, SpaceX wrote that the "Super Heavy Booster 9 static fire successfully lit all 33 Raptor engines, with all but two running for the full duration. Congratulations to the SpaceX team on this exciting milestone!" The company also shared footage of the test fire.

This is the second static fire engine test SpaceX has performed on Booster 9. On August 6, the company performed the same test. That time, the Raptor engines fired for only three seconds and four of them shut down during the test.

The new static fire test is likely one of the final technical preparations SpaceX has to check off before the second test flight of Starship. However, the company has some regulatory hurdles it must also overcome before Starship can take flight once again.

SpaceX has made "over a thousand changes" to Starship

SpaceX will need to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for its second test flight of Starship.

The FAA is currently facing a lawsuit filed against it by an environmental group following the first launch of Starship, which blew a crater in the launchpad and sent debris flying far and wide.

SpaceX handed a report to the FAA earlier this month detailing changes it has made since Starship's first test flight ended in a manually triggered explosion. The FAA must now decide whether it believes SpaceX has made the necessary changes before approving the next launch — a process that could take several weeks.

Musk recently also stated that SpaceX has made "well over a thousand" modifications to Starship, including adding a new "vented interstage" and a heat shield to the top of Booster 9 to allow for a hot-staging separation that would make the upper stage lose less thrust during the separation process.

At the time, he also said, "I think the probability this next flight working, getting to orbit, is much higher than the last one. Maybe it’s like 60%."

When the second test flight does eventually happen, SpaceX's new water deluge system and fire trench will be properly put to the test, with Starship firing onto the launchpad for a longer period as it slowly lifts itself skyward.

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