Starbase Live: 24/7 Starship & Super Heavy Development From SpaceX’s Boca Chica Facility
Nerdle Cam 4K- SpaceX Starbase Starship Launch Facility

SpaceX has conducted limited static fire tests of the booster before, but not on this scale. Back in November, the company ignited 14 Raptors simultaneously for 10 seconds. It successfully performed a wet dress rehearsal of the fully integrated 394-foot-tall (120-meter) rocket on January 23, setting the stage for the full static fire test. Two current prototypes in use are Super Heavy Booster 7 and Starship 24. During static fire tests, the engines are engaged but the rocket remains affixed to the launch pad. Ground teams removed the rocket’s upper stage Starship spacecraft in advance of the test.


The recently upgraded Raptor 2 engines each produce roughly 510,000 pounds of thrust; combined, the 33 Raptor 2 engines are expected to exert a whopping 16.7 million pounds of thrust. By comparison, NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket launches with 8.8 million pounds of thrust. Starship won’t fly today, but once aloft it’ll be the most powerful rocket to ever take flight.

A successful static fire test would set the stage for the megarocket’s much-anticipated debut orbital mission, which SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is hoping to achieve in March. That said, SpaceX would face one final hurdle: the acquisition of a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration. The company has been trying to get Starship off the ground since the summer of 2021. That the first orbital mission will go well is no guarantee. “Keep in mind, this first one is really a test flight...and the real goal is to not blow up the launch pad—that is success,” Shotwell said yesterday.


SpaceX is positioning the heavy-lift Starship as its rocket of the future—a powerful and fully reusable launch vehicle capable of delivering payloads and passengers to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. The company is currently under contract with NASA to develop two versions of the upper stage spacecraft that will serve as lunar landers for upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon.

More: SpaceX Awarded $1.15 Billion Contract to Build NASA’s Second Lunar Lander