SpaceX is racing towards its first Starship orbital flight test. The rocket maker has conducted another static fire test in Texas for the next-generation spaceship. The prototype was Ship 24.
The rocket’s upper stage fired one of its six Raptor rocket engines for about seven seconds, with the prototype firmly secured to the ground at SpaceX’s Starbase facility.
SpaceX posted a video of the test on Twitter without commenting on the result.
Ship 24 completes a single-engine static fire test at Starbase in Texas pic.twitter.com/gF9beLcarX
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 15, 2022
The first orbital flight has been long in coming. Delays from regulatory bodies have meant SpaceX had to postpone the launch.
However, it has used the time to develop and test the spaceship, running through many prototypes.
CEO Elon Musk is confident the flight could happen in the next few months. Some may doubt that, given the long-time optimism of the billionaire businessman. But there may be reasons to be confident this time, as the Ship 24 prototype has already had all its engines static-fire-tested.
SpaceX is making progress on the lower stage of the Starship as well. It has fired up 11 out of the 33 Raptor engines that power the booster, also known as Super Heavy. SpaceX is expected to mate Ship 24 and Booster 7 for the upcoming orbital flight.
The delays in development have not prevented Starship from lining up clients for Starship. NASA is fully invested, having paid for multiple launches to get its astronauts from the moon’s orbit to the surface and back in Project Artemis. SpaceX will also be its own customer as the Starship will launch Starlink satellites as the company expands its internet service.