SpaceX is already planning its first orbital flight before the year runs out. To attain such a milestone, the space agency successfully placed its latest 33-engine Starship Super Heavy Booster 7 on the launch pad on August 23. Unlike the previous engines used on SpaceX boosters, this 33 engine Booster is one of the most sophisticated versions the commercial space agency has ever built.
SpaceX rolled out the Super Heavy Prototype and carefully placed it onto its orbital launch pad at Starbase, Texas Facility. Elon Musk revealed in his latest tweet that the heavy lifting was accomplished by the Mechanzilla, a 469-foot-tall (143-meter-tall) launch tower stationed next to the orbital launch pad. Musk also shared the image of the super heavy lifting with the launch tower’s chopstick arms carefully holding up the Booster 7 prototype.
The Booster 7 wasn’t actually going to the launch pad for the first time. It has be placed by SpaceX when it carried out two static fire tests which took place on August 9 and August 11 respectively. During those static fire tests, the Booster 7 was fired up sometimes as it remained steady on the Orbital mount.
However, during these previous static fire tests, the Starship Starship Super Heavy Booster 7 only has 20 out of its 33 engines. But after the Static fire test conducted on August 11, SpaceX returned the Super Heavy Prototype to its processing bay at the Starbase. Here, SpaceX Technicians added the remaining 13 Raptor engines to complete the 33 engines on the prototype.
When the installation was completed, the agency returned the Booster 7 to the launch pad and mounted it on August 23. SpaceX will likely continue more static testing using the entire 33 Raptors at the same time. Since SpaceX is aiming for its first orbital test flight before the year runs out, the success of this static testing will determine the future of Booster 7 in reaching space anytime soon.
In another tweet shared by Elon Musk, the tech Billionaire declares that Orbital Test flights of SpaceX starships are one of his primary goals which he hopes to accomplish before the year runs out.
Since the Federal Aviation Administration has given SpaceX 75 mitigation which the space agency must meet before commencing with the orbital test flights of its starships, SpaceX is already working towards accomplishing these FAA actions. Once everything is set, SpaceX will surely commence with its Starship Orbital Test program before the year runs out.