SpaceX performs Booster 9 engine test ahead of static fire

SpaceX performs a spin prime test of Booster 9 (Credit SpaceX)

Earlier today, SpaceX partially fueled Booster 9, continuing a series of tests before its eventual static fire test.

For the spin prime test, the rocket was loaded with super-chilled liquid oxygen and flowed through the Raptor engines’ turbopumps that simulate firing the engines just one step short of actually lighting them. During the test FireX, comprised of water and nitrogen, is first triggered to disperse gases and prevent any unintended ignitions like the one that occurred during the Booster 7 spin prime test.

After a few seconds of the FireX flowing, SpaceX initiated the flow of liquid oxygen through the Raptor engines. It was likely all 33 engines. However, it is unconfirmed at this moment.

SpaceX teams will now analyze data from the test and move forward with the first firing of engines on the launch pad since the Integrated Test Flight in April 2023. The static fire test could come as soon as next week.

SpaceX also recently conducted two tests of the launch pad deluge system that was installed to prevent the issues that occurred during the IFT. The first test was only a partial flow test and then followed up with an impressive full flow test.

These tests show an impressive speed in repairing and upgrading the launch pad following the Integrated Flight Test, and we could be seeing the flight test within a month or two as long as SpaceX can clear the launch with FAA.

Do you think we will see a launch within the next couple of months, or will other issues prevent the launch of Starship until later in the year or perhaps 2024?

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SpaceX performs Booster 9 engine test ahead of static fire
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