On Monday, September 19th, SpaceX performed successful static fire tests on Starship’s rocket booster Super Heavy prototype #7 aka Booster 7 or even called B7 in short.
SpaceX conducted this static fire test with only 7 Raptor V2 engines installed on Booster 7. The total capacity of engines on the Booster 7 prototype is 33. But the test was limited to only 7 engines this time.
A single Raptor 2 engine has 230 tons or ~500k lbs thrust at sea level. So multiplying it by 7 engines firing at once, the thrust equals 1,610 tons or ~35K lbs.
A static fire test is when the 1st stage engines of a rocket or spaceship are ignited but the space vehicle remains static i.e. does not move vertically. The results of this test demonstrate the integrity of a rocket engine and bring out any technical issues or failures before the actual flight.
Elon Musk who’s the CEO and Chief Engineer of SpaceX shared a short video clip of the moments of this test on his Twitter account which shows the massiveness of this static fire test.
“Great for clearing dust,” Elon Musk said in a follow-up tweet to the above video. The impact of this massive fire and thrust created clouds of dust in the surrounding area of the launch pad at Starbase, Boca Chica, Texas.
Boom! — the firing of the engines made a loud sound that would stop the heartbeat for a split second. The event and the blast were recorded more closely by a bot camera installed closer to the Super Heavy Booster 7 by the NasaSpaceFlight.com team which can be better heard in the following video.
With 7 Raptor 2 engines installed on Booster 7, this was the highest number of engines, SpaceX has performed a static fire test on a Super Heavy rocket prototype.
If 7 engines can produce this much impact and sound, we can just imagine what would be seen and heard with all the 33 engines. Most probably, SpaceX will not perform a static fire test with all 33 engines installed, they will be tested in phases.
A static fire test on the Starship 24 was also performed earlier this month. Starship’s 1st orbital test was planned for this year but it looks like this will most probably not going to happen — fingers crossed for 2023.
SpaceX also rolled out the next Super Heavy prototype Booster 8 out from the Starbase production site to the launch site yesterday. A sign of the successful completion of the Booster 7 static fire tests (video below).
The next set of spin prime and static fire tests will be conducted on Booster 8.
Let us know in the comments section below if you feel that the 1st Starship orbital flight test will be conducted this year or the next.
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