Skip to main content

Watch SpaceX wrap up 2023 with spectacular Super Heavy rocket test

SpaceX wrapped up a busy 2023 by blasting all 33 Raptor engines on its Super Heavy rocket — the most powerful in the world.

Footage of the static fire test shows the Super Heavy booster blasting out millions of pounds of thrust as the Raptor engines are put through their paces ahead of the rocket’s next test flight.

Static fire of Super Heavy’s 33 Raptor engines ahead of Flight 3

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 29, 2023

The Elon Musk-led spaceflight company conducted the engine test at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday.

It’s the same place from where SpaceX will launch the Starship — comprising the first-stage Super Heavy booster and second-stage Starship spacecraft — on its third test flight once it gets permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The first two test flights of the Starship, which took place in April and November 2023, ended suddenly when the rockets exploded in midair. However, unlike the maiden flight, the second test achieved stage separation. But SpaceX has yet to achieve an orbital flight with the spacecraft, something it hopes to accomplish during its third test.

The FAA is currently conducting an investigation into the second test flight of the Starship. That’s expected to be completed in the coming weeks, paving the way for SpaceX to send the Starship skyward again.

Once the rocket is shown to be reliable in flight — and that could took a while yet — SpaceX wants to use it to send the first humans to Mars.

Before then, it will be deployed for crew and cargo missions to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA is aiming to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 using a modified version of the Starship spacecraft. In that mission, NASA will use its SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft to send the astronauts to lunar orbit, after which they’ll transfer to the Starship HLS lander for the final leg of the journey to the lunar surface.

SpaceX has had its busiest year ever in terms of launches, achieving nearly 100 liftoffs with its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket and more powerful Falcon Heavy vehicle. Most missions deployed satellites for various companies and organizations — including for SpaceX’s own internet-from-space Starlink program — while the Falcon 9 was also involved in several crewed missions to and from the International Space Station.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Watch this cool close-up footage of SpaceX’s rocket booster landing
A Falcon 9 booster landing in January 2024.

SpaceX successfully launched a Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday.

It was the first time for SpaceX to launch the Cygnus, whose 19 previous missions had involved Antares or Atlas rockets.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX launch Cygnus cargo ship to ISS for first time
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX is about to launch Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, and you can watch the event live online.

The 20th Commercial Resupply Services (NG-20) mission is set to get underway from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, January 30. Scroll down for full details on how to watch.

Read more
Watch Sierra Space blow up its LIFE habitat in dramatic pressure test
sierra space blows up life habitat in pressure test

The moment that Sierra Space's LIFE module explodes. Sierra Space

With the aging International Space Station (ISS) facing a fiery end about seven years from now, attention has been turning to new designs to replace the orbital outpost.

Read more