SpaceX fires up Starship prototype in deorbit burn test (video)

SpaceX has fired up another one of its Starship vehicles.

The company briefly ignited one of the six Raptor engines on its Ship 26 Starship prototype on Friday (Oct. 20) at its Starbase site, on Texas’ Gulf Coast.

“Single engine static fire demonstrating flight-like startup for a Starship deorbit burn,” SpaceX wrote in a Friday post on X (formerly known as Twitter), which featured video of the burn.

Related: Relive SpaceX’s explosive 1st Starship test in incredible launch photos

Starship, SpaceX’s next-generation deep-space transportation system, is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. It consists of a huge first-stage booster called Super Heavy and an upper-stage spacecraft known as Starship.

Both of these elements are powered by SpaceX’s Raptor engine — 33 of them for Super Heavy and six for Starship — and both are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable. 

Such reuse will be enabled by deorbit burns and other engine firings that allow Starship vehicles to return safely to Earth after liftoff. 


 —  Starship and Super Heavy: SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing transportation system

 —  Elon Musk says SpaceX could launch a Starship to the moon ‘probably sooner’ than 2024: report

 — SpaceX fires up giant Starship booster for 2nd time ahead of test flight (video)

Starship has yet to perform any safe landings after space missions, however. The vehicle is still in development and has just one fully stacked liftoff under its belt, a test flight in April of this year that ended in a controlled detonation when several problems were encountered shortly after launch.

SpaceX is gearing up for the second-ever Starship test flight, which will involve a Super Heavy known as Booster 9 and the Ship 25 upper stage. The company has conducted static fires with both of these vehicles and says the duo are ready to fly from a technical standpoint.

But there are still regulatory hurdles to clear: Booster 9 and Ship 25 can’t get off the ground until SpaceX gets a launch license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.


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