SpaceX Starship moves to launch pad for static fire tests ahead of fourth test flight

SpaceX has moved its mammoth Starship rocket to the launch pad at Starbase near Boca Chica, Texas, for static fire tests ahead of the fourth test flight. The company said this in a statement on March 22, 2024.

Starship rockets are stacked at the Starbase facility of SpaceX for static fire tests ahead of the fourth test flight
Starship rockets are stacked at the Starbase facility of SpaceX for static fire tests ahead of the fourth test flight. (Image credit: SpaceX)

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).

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.

Currently, the mammoth rocket is in its testing period. It completed its third test flight on March 14, 2024.

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

If all goes according to plan, then you will see the next test flight (the fourth) of Starship as soon as early May. 

After the third test flight, Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said at the Satellite 2024 conference on March 19, “We’ll figure out what happened on both stages and get back to flight hopefully in about six weeks.”

A Starship rocket (upper stage) is moved to the launch pad for static fire tests ahead of the fourth test flight
A Starship rocket (upper stage) is moved to the launch pad for static fire test ahead of the fourth test flight. (Image credit: SpaceX)

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.

NASA is closely watching Starship’s test flights because they have selected Starship to carry astronauts on the lunar surface in the later half of 2026 through its ambitious Artemis 3 program.

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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