Skip to main content

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

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 20, 2023

Additional drone view of Starship static fire

— 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.

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)…
SpaceX needs good weather for Wednesday’s crewed launch. Here’s the forecast
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center ahead of its Crew-5 mission.

SpaceX and Axiom Space are making final preparations for their third private crewed launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station.

The Axiom 3 mission is targeted for Wednesday and is the first crewed launch from U.S. soil to the ISS since SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission, which got underway in August 2023.

Read more
Flights to any city in less than 60 minutes? Musk still thinks it’s possible
SpaceX's Super Heavy and Starship.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has repeated his desire to use the world’s most powerful rocket for lightning-fast international passenger flights between major cities.

Speaking recently at a special event at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch facility in Texas, Musk said there was a “pretty good chance” that the Starship -- comprising the first-stage Super Heavy rocket and second-stage Starship spacecraft -- would one day offer “Earth-to-Earth transport” as well.

Read more
SpaceX reveals anticipated date for third Starship test flight
SpaceX's Starship rocket lifting off in November 2023.

SpaceX is aiming to get the mighty Starship rocket aloft again in February.

Speaking during a media teleconference earlier this week that was mainly for NASA to share updates to its Artemis program, Jessica Jensen, vice president of customer operations and integration at SpaceX, revealed that the Elon Musk-led company is aiming to have the Starship ready for flight this month and hoping to receive a flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the coming weeks.

Read more