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SpaceX Completes Starship SN11 Raptor Ignition Test, Possible Flight This Week

Another shiny Starship will soon liftoff from SpaceX’s ‘Gateway to Mars’ in the southernmost tip of Texas. SpaceX teams completed Starship SN11’s Raptor engine ignition test this morning in preparation for a flight test that could possibly happen later this week. During the static-fire test, SN11’s three methane-fueled Raptors were briefly ignited for a few seconds as the stainless-steel vehicle remained grounded to the test stand at the Boca Chica launch pad. Engineers collected data to evaluate its performance. South Texas residents captured video of the ignition test, shown below.

Starship SN11 will conduct a 10-kilometer flight test above the sandy beach along the Gulf of Mexico. According to Cameron County Boca Chica Beach closure announcements the launch could happen as soon as Wednesday, March 22nd from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central Time. However, date is subject to change, could happen later in the week depending on whether the vehicle is ready and if weather conditions remain stable for flight. Each flight test gets the company closer towards developing a Mars ready Starship launch vehicle. You can watch SpaceX get Starship SN11 ready for a flight test Live in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.

The final version of Starship will require a giant Super Heavy rocket booster to propel it to orbit in order to conserve fuel for long-duration voyages to the Red Planet. Both vehicles will be powered by Raptor engines, Starship spacecraft will utilize three sea-level Raptors for atmospheric flight and three vacuum-optimized Raptors for propulsion in space. Super Heavy will be equipped with 28 powerful Raptor engines and will be fully reusable, capable of launching multiple Starships per day. “SpaceX is developing rockets needed to make life multiplanetary — full & rapid reusability at large scale. Even if SpaceX fails in that goal, the rockets will still be most advanced on Earth,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said this evening. “Starlink‘s purpose is to provide Internet to the least served & to pay for Mars,” he added. Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite division which aims to provide reliable, high-speed internet to customers worldwide. Starlink could help SpaceX build a fleet of one thousand Starships that could enable astronauts to colonize the Red Planet.

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