SpaceX has begun testing Ship 28 and Booster 10 as they look to fly the third Integrated Flight Test as soon as possible once given regulatory approval from the FAA.
Both Ship 28 and Booster 10 were moved from the production facility to the launch last site just one month after IFT 2 which saw Ship 25 and Booster 9 make it through the first stage portion of the flight with both encountering issues shortly after resulting in their automated self destruct systems activating.
Ship 28 kicked off the test campaign with all 6 engines firing for just around 4 seconds. Ship 28 has already gone through a couple of cryogenic tests at the company’s Massey’s Test Facility and then just a few days ago performed a spin prime test which is a rapid flow of liquid oxygen through the engines.
Flight 3 Starship completed a full-duration static fire with all six of its Raptor engines pic.twitter.com/Mxn8faKcEv
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 20, 2023
This could be one of the final tests for a Ship at the launch site as SpaceX recently tore down suborbital pad A to make room to build a second full-size launch tower and could move Ship engine testing to the Masseys facility where they already perform cryogenic testing.
SpaceX was performing tests with Booster 10 earlier today and partially filled both the liquid oxygen tank and liquid methane tank ahead of a potential static fire. The test seemingly entered a very long hold before the tanks were emptied via boil-off and eventually underwent the full depress vent. SpaceX had a test window that ran until 8 PM local time but once the booster was safed, the road was opened back up and teams returned to the launch site to diagnose any issues encountered during the test.
One thing is for certain, SpaceX is not wasting any time to launch IFT 3, and with the the launch site performing extremely well after IFT 2, the only remaining hurdle would be getting their report to the FAA and the subsequent approval.