SpaceX Conducts Engine Test for Booster 9 Ahead of Static Fire

Key Points

  • ๐Ÿš€ SpaceX performed a spin prime test on Booster 9, partially fueling it and simulating engine firing before the static fire test.
  • ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ The rocket was loaded with super-chilled liquid oxygen and used FireX to disperse gases and prevent unintended ignitions during the test.
  • ๐Ÿงช Data from the test will be analyzed, and the first firing of engines on the launch pad could happen as soon as next week.
  • ๐Ÿš€ SpaceX has been repairing and upgrading the launch pad following the Integrated Flight Test, aiming for a possible flight test within a month or two.

Earlier today, SpaceX proceeded with a significant step in its test series for Booster 9 by partially fueling the rocket as part of preparations for the upcoming static fire test.

For the spin prime test, the rocket was filled with super-chilled liquid oxygen, and the liquid flowed through the Raptor engines’ turbopumps, simulating the engine firing process right up to the point just before actual ignition. Additionally, the test involved the use of FireX, a mixture of water and nitrogen, which was triggered to disperse gases and prevent any unintended ignitions, addressing potential issues encountered during the Booster 7 spin prime test.

Following a few seconds of FireX flow, SpaceX initiated the liquid oxygen flow through the Raptor engines, likely involving all 33 engines, although this remains unconfirmed.

The SpaceX teams will now thoroughly analyze the data obtained from the test and proceed with the first engine firing on the launch pad since the Integrated Test Flight in April 2023. The static fire test is anticipated to take place as early as next week.

In addition, SpaceX recently carried out two tests of the launch pad deluge system, which was installed to address the issues encountered during the IFT. The first test was a partial flow test, followed by an impressive full flow test, ensuring further readiness for upcoming missions.

The recent tests indicate an impressive pace in repairing and upgrading the launch pad after the Integrated Flight Test. If SpaceX receives clearance from the FAA, we might witness the flight test within a month or two.

As for the possibility of a launch within the next couple of months, it largely depends on whether any other unforeseen issues arise. While the progress seems promising, there is always a chance that additional challenges could delay the launch of Starship until later in the year or even into 2024. Only time will tell how the situation unfolds.

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