SpaceX is preparing for the next test of its super-heavy rocket and Starship. In preparation for the flight, static fire tests of the Super Heavy Booster 9 were conducted on August 6, 2023.
During the test, 29 of the 33 Raptor engines operated for 2.7 seconds instead of the scheduled 5 seconds. 4 engines shut down prematurely. Super Heavy is able to enter orbit without 4 engines, so the test can be considered successful.
The Super Heavy Booster 9 differs from its predecessors in many ways, most notably by using an electric thrust vector control system instead of the hydraulic system used on Booster 8 and previous models, including Booster 7, which was used during the test launch on April 20, 2023.
The previous test flight of the SpaceX Starship ended in an explosion, but was generally considered a success by the company’s management. Super Heavy Booster 9 will take part in the second test flight, the date of which has not yet been announced. In June 2023, Elon Musk said that he expects the next launch to take place within 6-8 weeks, i.e. by the end of August 2023. The application has already been submitted and is valid from June 15 to December 15, 2023. The FAA has not yet announced its decision.