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SpaceX to test-fire all 33 Starship booster engines Thursday
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SpaceX to test-fire all 33 Starship booster engines Thursday
by Joe Fisher
Washington DC (UPI) Feb 8, 2021

SpaceX will embark on a monumental step toward launching Starship on Thursday when it test-fires all 33 of its first-stage boosters.

President Gwynne Shotwell shared a modest goal for the day, stating that not blowing up the launch pad would be considered a success. She was a keynote speaker at the Federal Aviation Administration's Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, D.C., when she announced the test will take place, CNBC reports.

Starship represents a major achievement for the commercial space company. It is not only the largest and presumably most powerful launch vehicle ever created, it is planned to be used and reused to transport civilians to the Earth's orbit, the Moon and eventually Mars.

The nearly 400-foot tall spacecraft has been bound to the Earth for longer than SpaceX had intended. The company targeted launching in 2021 and expected to go into orbit in 2022, as well. Fourteen of the booster's engines were test-fired in November and a fueling test was successful in January.

If Thursday's test of its Raptor engines is a success, Shotwell suggested an orbital flight from the Boca Chica, Texas, launch pad could come as soon as March, Space News said.

According to CNBC, SpaceX already has agreements in place to fly crews aboard Starship, including at least three private civilian flights.

SpaceX launches have been coming fast and furious, with the Amazonus Nexus launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday just the latest in a line of successful mission launches.

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