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SpaceX completes first stacked Starship fueling test

“Today’s test will help verify a full launch countdown sequence," SpaceX said.
A photo of SpaceX's Starship rocket at the company's Boca Chica facility in Texas. In this photo, Starship's upper stage is stacked on the rocket's booster.
Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|January 24, 2023 12:04 PM

SpaceX’s next-generation Starship super heavy-lift rocket is one step closer to the day when it may finally fly. On Monday, SpaceX fueled a fully stacked Starship for the first time. The “wet dress rehearsal” saw the company load the vehicle’s Super Heavy and Starship stages with more than 10 million pounds of liquid oxygen and methane fuel. Additionally, SpaceX ran through some of the countdown procedures it will need to complete on launch day. “Today’s test will help verify a full launch countdown sequence, as well as the performance of Starship and the orbital pad for flight-light operations,” SpaceX posted on Twitter.

As Space.com notes, Monday’s test means SpaceX is on track to complete an orbital flight of Starship sometime in the coming months. The company filed the necessary paperwork for that test in May 2021, following its first successful landing of a Starship prototype. Since then, the Starship program has encountered a handful of setbacks. For instance, a lengthy review saw the Federal Aviation Administration order SpaceX to take more than 75 actions to mitigate the impact of Starship launches on the environment surrounding the company’s Boca Chica site in Texas. More recently, a booster test fire ended with a fiery explosion. Following this week’s wet dress rehearsal, SpaceX must complete a few more on-the-ground tests before Starship can fly. One of the more critical trials will require the company to simultaneously fire all of the Super Heavy booster’s 33 Raptor engines.

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SpaceX completes first stacked Starship fueling test