Static fire for SpaceX’ s Ship25

After last week's fuel test, the company founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX's new Ship25 successfully passed the static fire test
A top view of the Ship 25 prototype’s static fire on June 26, 2023. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has recently completed a static fire of the spacecraft Ship25, the second stage of the gigantic space transportation system called Starship. All six Raptor engines at the base of the vehicle were ignited for about five seconds on Monday evening, June 26th.

Ship25 is in preparation for the second stacked test flight of Starship. During the first flight on April 20th, Starship flew to almost 40 kilometers in altitude from SpaceX’s Starbase site in South Texas.

A Ship25 with 1000 modifications

Monday’s Ship25 test appears to have gone incredibly well. On Tuesday, SpaceX tweeted images (ref.) from the previous day, highlighting the sheer power generated by the Raptor engines. The smoke and ignition dust managed to stay low enough to keep Ship25 perfectly framed.

SpaceX’ s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, also tweeted an image of the Ship25 static fire article early Tuesday morning. This image from an upward perspective shows the bright light emitted by the flames, with the spacecraft at the center of the glow.

A successful static fire is a promising sign for SpaceX, as the company has implemented “well over 1,000” modifications compared to Ship24 used in the attempt on April 20th. This static fire is also good news for NASA. The space agency’s Artemis program relies on Starship to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in a few years.

NASA’s Satisfaction

Starship will be the spacecraft for the Artemis 3 mission, a crewed flight to the lunar region of the South Pole, currently scheduled for the end of 2025. That mission will see four astronauts launched aboard an Orion spacecraft atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Orion will rendezvous with the spacecraft in orbit around the Moon.

The SpaceX vehicle will then ferry the astronauts to the lunar surface. Therefore, no lunar landing will occur for NASA until Starship is ready. A recent assessment of Starship’s progress has led NASA officials to speculate that Artemis 3 could be delayed until 2026.

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