SpaceX successfully tested its Super Heavy Booster for the first time in its Starbase rocket development facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
This development comes amid the race to become space tourism pioneers, with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's fellow billionaire moguls Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are serious in their own respective attempts.
Musk is certainly not falling behind, as he described on Twitter the hold-down test firing that lasted for a few seconds as a "full-test duration firing of 3 Raptors on Super Heavy Booster!" This has been the third iteration of the booster rocket, a key component in SpaceX's ambitious push for interplanetary travel.
Full test duration firing of 3 Raptors on Super Heavy Booster!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2021
You can watch the milestone SpaceX Booster 3 launch again through this video:
Musk also said SpaceX is looking at conducting further tests on Booster 3 before the company concentrates on the fourth version of the rocket that will bring a Starship SN20 prototype to space in the coming months, Newsweek reported. He said that SpaceX will try a "9 engine firing on Booster 3" in a subsequent test.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket also used nine engines in its first stage, with the Falcon Heavy rocket consisting of three boosters and an upper stage that used 27 engines during lift off, a Space.com report revealed.
SpaceX Super Heavy Boosters Set to Launch Starship Into Space
The Booster 3 is a scaled-down prototype of Super Heavy. It will have about 32 SpaceX Raptors, which are full-flow staged combustion cycle rocket engines, Cnet noted in a report. These will allow the booster to lift heavy payloads beyond Earth's gravity,and reach the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The Super Heavy Boosters will be used in SpaceX's Starship, which is being tested in its Texas site, per Cnet.
This Starship, which will have cargo or human passengers on board, will be placed atop the Super Heavy Booster before launching off to Earth's atmosphere. SpaceX is looking at having the Super Heavy land on Earth to be reused, similar to the Falcon 9 rocket.
Musk noted that the Booster 3 Super Heavy won't be launch into space and will only be used for ground tests, Space.com shared. The upcoming Booster 4, he said, will be the first rocket to launch the Starship.
SpaceX Starship Test Flight Set in the Coming Months
SpaceX is targeting Starship's first orbital test flight later in the year using the Booster 4 Super Heavy. Its objective is to have Starship lift off from Texas, make a quick trip to space, and then make a soft water landing off Hawaii. Meanwhile, the Super Heavy will have its splash near the Gulf of Mexico, via Space.com.
SpaceX will then recover the Starship and Super Heavy for reuse, similar to what it does regularly with the Falcon 9 boosters.
A Starship vehicle had been successfully launched and landed in a test flight in May that reached an altitude of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).
NASA had chosen SpaceX's Starship to bring astronauts to the Moon as part of the US space agency's Artemis program. SpaceX likewise inked a deal with Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa for a Starship flight to the Moon.
Musk also aims to bring astronauts to Mars using the Starship, further noting that the spacecraft would be operational by 2023, if upcoming tests prove successful.