Skip to main content

Watch SpaceX test fire its next-gen Super Heavy rocket

SpaceX could send its next-generation Super Heavy rocket on its first test flight as early as next month.

As part of the preparations for the most powerful rocket ever built, the company has this week been performing ground-based test fires of the booster at its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The Super Heavy’s first-ever test fire took place on Tuesday, though it only lasted a few seconds. A second one took place on Thursday and went on for around 20 seconds, kicking up a mass of dust in the process. You can watch it in the video below:

SpaceX Booster 7 Performs Static Fire Testing

Commentators on NASASpaceflight suggested that each test blasted only one of the rocket’s 33 Raptor engines as engineers seek to confirm the rocket’s readiness for its debut flight. We can soon expect to see further tests using more of the rocket’s engines at the same time, giving us a more realistic idea of the booster’s awesome power.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that the procedure was designed to test “autogenous pressurization,” described as “the use of self-generated gaseous propellant to pressurize liquid propellant in rockets.”

SpaceX also test-fired its Starship spacecraft on Tuesday. You can watch footage of the event in the video below. The Starship will sit atop the Super Heavy when the rocket blasts into space on its first orbital test flight, which is expected to take place in September or soon after.

SpaceX fires up Starship 24 and Super Heavy Booster 7 for 1st time!

Collectively known as the Starship, SpaceX plans to deploy the reusable vehicle for missions to the moon, Mars, and possibly beyond. In an exciting mission planned with NASA, a special version of the Starship will put the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, possibly as early as 2025.

Starship’s moon lander will carry the astronauts from the planned Lunar Gateway station to the moon’s surface. The astronauts will reach the Gateway aboard the Orion spacecraft, which will be carried into orbit by NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

While the timing of Starship’s lunar lander mission therefore depends to a large extent on how NASA fares with the first flights of its new SLS rocket as part of the early Artemis missions, SpaceX also needs to achieve success with the early orbital flight tests of the Super Heavy and Starship spacecraft in order for the highly anticipated crewed moon mission to have any chance of taking place in the middle of this decade.

There is much work still to be done by both SpaceX and NASA, and the various mission dates may well slip, but both are nevertheless moving steadily toward the beginning of a new era of deep space exploration.

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 Starship makes it off the pad, but is lost during second test flight
Starship on the launch pad ahead of the second orbital flight test on November 11, 2023.

SpaceX has performed a second integrated test flight of its Starship, the world's most powerful rocket. The Starship made it off the launchpad and survived through stage separation, but communication with the spacecraft was lost near the end of its engine burn.

The rocket made it further in this test than it did in its previous test flight in April this year when it took off from the pad, but exploded before stage separation.

Read more
SpaceX needs good weather for Starship launch. Here’s how it’s looking
SpaceX's Starship on the launchpad.

SpaceX is making final preparations to send the Starship to orbit on in what will be only the second test flight of the 400-foot-tall rocket.

The company had originally hoped to launch on Friday but has had to carry out some extra work that's caused a 24-hour delay.

Read more
SpaceX given green light to send mighty Starship rocket skyward
A Super Heavy booster on the launchpad at SpaceX's site in Texas.

A Super Heavy booster on the launchpad at SpaceX's site in Texas. SpaceX / SpaceX

SpaceX has been given the green light to send its Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft skyward in what will be only the second test launch of the world's most powerful spaceflight system.

Read more