SpaceX readies Flight 5 Starship with a static fire test ahead of Flight 4, Starbase updates

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX is preparing multiple Starships simultaneously for the upcoming orbital flight tests.

Yesterday, SpaceX conducted a static fire test on the Flight 5 Starship (Ship 30). The space exploration company is taking the Starship development into the next gear as the Flight 4 (IFT-4) test is just around the corner.

Integrated Flight Test 5 (IFT-5) currently does not have a solid timeline as Ship 30 and Super Heavy Booster 12 (B12) need to go through multiple other tests to be fully ready for the orbital launch test.

However, the Flight 4 Starship (upper stage Ship 29 + 2nd stage B11 rocket booster) has completed its testing and validation. Flight 4 is waiting for the FAA approval for the launch. According to Elon Musk’s X post from April, Flight 4 should happen this month.

Starship 30 goes through a static fire test as SpaceX prepares it for the Flight 5 test in the near future.
Starship 30 goes through a static fire test as SpaceX prepares it for the Flight 5 test in the near future. Credit: @SpaceX / X (Twitter).
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Video of the full duration (6s) static fire test of Flight 5 Starship (Ship 30) conducted on 8th May 2024. Credit: @SpaceX / X (Twitter).

SpaceX released the above footage of the 1st static fire test of Flight 5 (Ship 30) on Elon Musk’s social media platform X. This Flight 5 Starship static fire test lasted for a full duration of 6 seconds. All 6 Raptor engines (3 sea-level and 3 vacuum engines) were fired in this test and SpaceX confirmed it a success.

Starship 30 was moved to the Pad B at the SpaceX Starbase launch site earlier this week. This was a confirmation that a static fire test was going to be conducted soon. After the 6-engine static fire on Flight 5 Starship, the next major test will be the 33-engine static fire test of the 1st-stage Booster 12.

Flight 4 Updates

Video of the Flight 4 Starship Booster 11 33-engine static fire test.
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Right now, the most important SpaceX goal at Starbase is to get the final approval for the Flight 4 orbital launch test. The goal for the Flight 4 launch is to test the maximum thermal endurance capacity of Starship.

SpaceX has designed special thermal protection system (TPS) heat shield tiles for Starship. On reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere, a metal object such as the size of a Starship can become a fireball if heat and friction aren’t absorbed efficiently.

“Goal of this mission is for Starship to get through max reentry heating with all systems functioning,” Elon Musk explained the goal of the 4th Starship flight (Flight 4 / IFT-4).

As we’ve mentioned above, SpaceX is waiting for the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license approval for Flight 4 and it should be granted this month.

Starbase Updates

The preparations for the Flight 4 Starship launch at Starbase are in full swing. There have been several developments going on at SpaceX’s Starship launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.

The deck and legs of the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) were painted this past week. The OLM was also tested for flight worthiness as well. NASASpaceflight team that consistently covers Starbase on their YouTube channel recorded these developments (video below).

SpaceX also continued groundwork for the 2nd orbital launch pad being constructed at Starbase, TX.

The steel structure skeleton of the Starfactory also received significant paneling work. SpaceX installed the panels of the Starfactory walls to move its construction into the new phase.

SpaceX engineers/staff were also seen working on Starship 29’s heat shield tiles. This was most probably some repair work to strengthen the existing tiles. These and many more updates can be witnessed in the following video by NASASpaceFlight.

Video: Starbase updates as SpaceX prepares for Flight 4 orbital launch test.
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Stay tuned for future updates on Starship and SpaceX, Follow us on:
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More on SpaceX / Starship

Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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