SpaceX has completed a static fire test of the SN4 Starship prototype ahead of a hop test tentatively scheduled for later this month.
The single next-generation Raptor engine installed on the SN4 Starship prototype sprang to life at 01:57 UTC this morning. The methalox rocket engine completed a 5-second burn before shutting down.
Starship SN4 STATIC FIRE!
First time a Raptor has fired up on a SpaceX Starship. They'll be reviewing, so let's hope the data shows it was a good test!
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) May 6, 2020
Following the test, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the test had been completed successfully stating, “Starship SN4 passed static fire.”
The SN4 prototype is the first to complete a static fire test. Three previous versions of the launch vehicle were destroyed during cryogenic pressurization testing, a test SN4 passed successfully on April 27.
The static fire test of the SN4 prototype was the last major hurdle before a hop test tentatively scheduled for later this month. The test will see SN4 fire its single Raptor engine, climb to an altitude of 150 meters, and return to Earth completing a propulsive soft landing.
However, before SpaceX can do that, attention will shift to the company’s maiden crewed Dragon launch. The historic mission is expected to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center atop a Falcon 9 rocket on May 27 carrying Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. The spacecraft and crew will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station for a currently undefined “extended stay.”