SpaceX has tested its most powerful rocket system ever ahead of a planned civilian trip to the moon.
yesterday Elon MuskThe company fired up the engines of its towering Super Heavy booster, which forms one half of the ambitious Starship spacecraft, which aims to make its first orbital flight in the coming weeks.
The settling test didn’t go entirely well, as the booster’s two Raptor rocket engines failed to ignite. The remaining 31 rounds were fired for approximately 10 seconds.
Musk said they would still generate enough energy to reach orbit, setting a new record for thrust produced by a single rocket — 17 million pounds.
It remains to be seen whether the billionaire’s company will try another static fire test before the next-generation rocket launches from Texas for the first time.
SpaceX Chief executive Gwynne Shotwell said that could happen “in the next month or so”.
Ms Shotwell will be pleased with the results of Thursday’s test in Boca Chica, on the Texas-Mexico border, declaring that “the real goal was not to blow up the launch pad”.
There was no indication of any damage to the rocket or infrastructure.
Starship itself is central to Musk’s long-term goal of colonizing Mars.
It’s a two-stage rocket system, the most powerful rocket system ever built, standing almost 400 feet (120 meters) high.
Watch: SpaceX rocket launches satellite into orbit
The privately funded dearMoon mission has been aiming to pick up a group of civilians – including an Irish-British artist from north London – Landing on the Moon and returning to Starship later this year.
nasawhich partially funded the spacecraft and is also planned to use it to land Through its Artemis program, the first astronauts to land on the moon in over 50 years.
But Ms Shotwell said earlier this week that it would first need to launch hundreds of uncrewed missions carrying satellites before the first manned flight.