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Watch SpaceX’s dramatic drone view of Starship test ahead of 3rd flight

SpaceX has released some dramatic footage (below) of the Starship spacecraft undergoing a static-fire engine test ahead of the next launch of the Super Heavy booster and Starship spacecraft, collectively known as the Starship.

The test, which involved the firing of all six of the Starship’s Raptor engines, took place this week at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The first video is shot from directly above the Starship as its engines fire at full power for several seconds. The second video features slow-motion footage of the same moment, while the third runs at normal speed, showing a wider view of the test.

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

Additional drone view of Starship static fire pic.twitter.com/rpIN9shSwt

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 20, 2023

SpaceX is preparing to send the Super Heavy — the most powerful rocket ever to fly — skyward in its third test flight once it receives a launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is still conducting an investigation into the second test flight, which ended in spectacular fashion shortly after liftoff in November.

The next Super Heavy flight test will attempt to send the spacecraft to orbit, after which it will splash down off the coast of Hawaii, while the booster will come down in the Gulf of Mexico. Looking further ahead, the spacecraft will have the capability of landing back on Earth following an orbital mission, or even on other celestial bodies, carrying crew and cargo to distant locations.

NASA has already inked a deal with SpaceX to use a modified version of the Starship spacecraft for the first crewed lunar landing since the final Apollo mission in 1972, which is currently set for 2025.

SpaceX is also hoping to use the Super Heavy and Starship for the first crewed mission to Mars, a feat that could be attempted in the 2030s.

But plenty more testing still needs to take place before SpaceX can consider putting humans aboard the Starship.

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