Elon Musk stunned after Starship Raptor engines survive latest test

After what happened during the first test launch of SpaceX's Starship, it's no surprise Elon Musk was stunned the Raptor engines survived its latest test.

by | Published on 19th May 2023

Let’s face it, the first test launch of SpaceX’s Starship last month didn’t quite go according to plan.

After utilizing all 30 engines after three failed to start, the rocket exploded within four minutes of liftoff.

Thankfully, Starship’s multiple Raptor engines managed to survive its latest test – much to Elon Musk’s surprise.

READ MORE! Watch debris from Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship obliterate a nearby minivan

With ambitious plans to make human life “multi-planetary” and transport a million people to Mars by 2050 using Starship, the last thing Musk needs is for things to go wrong.

The pendulum clearly swung in Musk’s favor, though, as all 33 of the Starship Raptor’s engines managed to come through the latest test unscathed.

Musk shared in a tweet that the Starship’s Raptor engines achieved a chamber pressure of 350 bar, equivalent to 269 tons of thrust.

He tweeted, “Congrats to SpaceX propulsion team! Starship Super Heavy Boost has 33 Raptors, so total thrust of 8877 tons or 19.5 million pounds.”

Acknowledging the high pressure as unchartered territory, Musk expressed surprise at the engine’s ability to withstand it.

He said, “To be frank, we did not expect the engine to survive a full duration run at that pressure.

“Raptor chamber wall might have the highest heat flux of anything ever made.”

Starship’s first test flight / SpaceX YouTube

This is an incredibly important step, as SpaceX’s Starship – composed of the Super Heavy rocket and the spacecraft – aims to create a full reusable transportation system for crew and cargo missions to earth’s orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Said Super Heavy rocket relies on 33 Raptor engines, while the spacecraft is equipped with six engines, including three Raptor engines and three Raptor Vacuum engines.

A reusable methane-oxygen staged-combustion engine, the Raptor engine boasts twice the thrust of the Falcon 9 Merline engine, according to SpaceX.

Let’s just see what happens the next time the SpaceX’s Starship is tested.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for supercarblondie.com. Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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