As it moves towards the second highly expected orbital flight test of its Starship rocket, SpaceX is busy testing Starship’s Raptor engines at its centers in McGregor, Texas. These engines are essential for Starship’s success, and although SpaceX has actually been developing them for many years, the intricacy of the rocket typically results in engine problems during flight. As part of its developmental tests, the company shared video footage of an unusual Raptor test where the engine was gimballed at an angle to the horizontal test website. Most importantly, the test was a long period of time test fire which the engine performed with ease, revealing that engine issues might quickly become a thing of the past for SpaceX.
SpaceX’s Long Duration Raptor Test Fire Lasts For More Than Twenty Seconds
Before it can fly any rocket, whether the Falcon 9 or Starship, SpaceX tests all of its engines at its facilities in McGregor. McGregor is among the business’s earliest websites and has contributed to the development of all of SpaceX’s rocket engines. The latest engine to the company’s portfolio is the Raptor engine, designed exclusively for Starship. While SpaceX is yet to fly the full Starship stack successfully, it has actually already upgraded the Raptor, and the current version that has been publicly revealed is the Raptor 3.
The engine has been firing up for years now, and issues with its combustion chamber were among the factors a few of the tests in SpaceX’s upper-stage Starship project failed. Raptor is substantially more effective than the Merlin engines, which power the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. According to Elon Musk, the Raptor 3 can generate 590,000 pounds of thrust, and the engine might have gotten in volume production given that the test that generated this thrust happened in May.
While May’s test attained a peak thrust of 590,000 pounds, this might not be the ceiling of the Raptor V3 engine. Approximately 2 months after the test, Musk required to X( formerly called Twitter) once again and shared that increasing the Raptor engine’s thrust by 20% at sea level is possible. Comparing it to the 510,000 pounds of thrust of the Raptor 2 engine, the Raptor 3 engine can possibly generate a tremendous 600,000+ pounds.
SpaceX has actually stopped sharing rocket engine screening footage since late, and the only video of the tests is available online through committed onlookers. One such clip appeared early last year when a Raptor 2 engine’s combustion chamber melted during a trial run in the early phases of the Raptor 2’s advancement.
The current Raptor video footage shared on X is of an unique test that shows the engine firing for a “long period of time” test while it is angled to the ground. The majority of Raptor tests take place on a horizontal test stand, instead of the vertical mean the Merlin engines. During these, the engine is generally parallel to the ground, but this time around, SpaceX confirmed that it was gimballed at 15 degrees.
This is an important element because the angle of the rocket engine worries numerous components while it is producing hundreds of countless pounds of thrust. A test such as this one ensures engineers that these elements perform according to expectations. While SpaceX’s video footage is a little over 20 seconds, visuals recorded by Adam Cuker and posted on X show that the test lasted for more than 2 minutes.
You can take a look at SpaceX’s footage below:
Long duration test fire of Raptor while gimbaled 15 degrees pic.twitter.com/HuYqmtE8fc
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 17, 2023