SpaceX completes static fire test of Starship rocket ahead of fourth test flight

SpaceX has completed a static fire test of its gigantic Starship rocket ahead of its fourth test flight at the Starbase launch pad, Boca Chica, Texas. The company announced it on Monday, March 25, 2024.

Static fire test of the Starship upper stage ahead of the fourth test flight
A static fire test of the Starship upper stage ahead of the fourth test flight. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

All six Raptor engines of the Starship upper stage (called Starship spacecraft) are fired for full duration during the static fire test.

And the static fire test of the Starship lower stage (called the Super Heavy booster rocket), which is powered by 33 Raptor engines, has not yet been done for the fourth test flight. Hopefully, it will be done soon.

A static fire test is a test in which the rocket engines are fired at full thrust for several seconds but the rocket doesn’t launch (it remains “static” at the launch pad).

If all goes according to plan, then you will see the next test flight (the fourth) of Starship as soon as early May. Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer (COO) of SpaceX, said this at the Satellite 2024 conference on March 19 after the third test flight. 

However, SpaceX does not have complete control over this as the company must obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before the fourth flight.

During the third test flight of Starship, which happened on March 14, 2024, the gigantic rocket didn’t achieve a successful splashdown as it lost during atmospheric reentry. 

Currently, SpaceX is analyzing the data from Starship’s third test flight, and the result of the third test flight will help in the preparation of the fourth test flight.

The main goal of Starship’s fourth test flight will be to achieve control splashdown. 

SpaceX is looking to make the rocket fully reusable by correcting the defects through repeated test flights.

Starship is the world’s most powerful and tallest rocket ever built. It stands 121 meters (397 feet) tall with a diameter of 9 meters. It is a two-stage, fully reusable rocket that will be used to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Related article: SpaceX Starship rocket lost before splashdown on its third test flight  

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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