A view of Starship Ship 20 and Booster 4 during their first stacking process in early August. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX appeared to perform a test on Starship Ship 20’s Raptor preburners in the overnight hours after filling the prototype with its propellants.
At about 12:39 a.m. EDT (04:39 UTC) Oct. 19, 2021, at the company’s Starbase facility in South Texas, SpaceX appeared to perform a test on one or more of the Raptor engines at the base of Ship 20.
While it hasn’t been confirmed by the company, livestream video of the test from organizations such as NASASpaceflight showed a bright flash and a relatively quiet “honk.” There was no roar of a full Raptor static fire, which may still be planned in the coming days, potentially as early as tonight.
Ship 20 has three sea level Raptor engines and three vacuum-optimized Raptor engines. They consume liquid methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidizer.
Following this test, the Starship prototype was detanked to allow for State Highway 4 to reopen.
SpaceX’s Raptors are considered “full flow staged combustion” engines, meaning it has two preburners — one fuel rich and one oxidizer rich — that power the turbopumps. The exhaust ...