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.
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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.”
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.