The engines of SpaceX's space-bound Starship prototype were fired up Thursday afternoon (Sept. 8) in a stunning test that also lit portions of the surrounding terrain ablaze. All six Raptor engines on SpaceX's Ship 24 spacecraft briefly fired up Thursday around 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT) at the company's South Texas facility, Starbase. Ship 24, which is scheduled to execute the Starship program's first-ever orbital test flight in the coming months, took another step closer to launch with the "static fire" test.
The static fire only lasted a few seconds, although flames lingered at Starbase for some time thereafter.The test ignited a grass fire, prompting the local fire department to respond as a precaution, according to a NASASpaceflight.com video. (The video above shows Rocket Ranch Boca Chica capturing footage of today's static fire.)
Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of SpaceX, has stated that Starship has the ability to open the sky, making Mars colonization and other daring exploration achievements economically achievable. He's not the only one who sees potential in the massive vehicle. For example, NASA chose Starship as the first crewed lunar lander for its Artemis moon exploration program. If all goes as planned, a Starship will land NASA people near the lunar south pole in 2025 or 2026.