SpaceX is getting closer and closer to its goal of launching its Starship rocket up to Space. Its fourth full-scale prototype fired up its Raptor engine for the very first time on May 5th, and it was a success!
Since its creation, this is the largest significant milestone in SpaceX's Starship program, as its Starship serial number 4 (SN4) prototype's static fire test, the latest in its range of rapid-fire testing over the last few days, went to plan.
Biggest technical milestone
So far, this is the biggest technical milestone for SpaceX's Starship program. After undergoing a number of tests in the last few weeks and days, the Starship rocket and its Raptor engine successfully passed the engine's rapid-fire test, also known as the ignition test.
This was a historic launch for the program, which occurred at 8:57 PM, CDT on May 5th.
The entire test took just around three seconds to be completed, after which Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO and founder, posted a positive tweet about the moment.
Starship SN4 passed static fire— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 6, 2020
Now that the test has been successful, the Starship SN4 will potentially go through a few more tests before being cleared for its preparations for a 150 meter (500 foot) hop test later this month. First, however, SpaceX needs the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a launch license.
The Starship rocket is already all prepped with landing legs installed and won't be needing a nosecone for the upcoming short and slow hop test. What SpaceX may need to still do, though, is install an altitude control system of some sort before SN4 can safely fly.
You can learn all about Starship by reading its Users Guide, posted online by SpaceX.