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SpaceX’s Starship Survives Cryogenic Pressurization Test

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
April 27, 2020
Filed under , , , , ,

The fourth time was a charm for SpaceX’s Starship.

The fourth version of the space vehicle passed a cryogenic pressurization test that had destroyed three previous versions. Liquid nitrogen was used to test whether the vehicle could hold cryogenic propellants at pressure.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the successful test paves the way for the installation of a single Raptor engine. A static fire of the engine could come as early as this week, he said.

If that test is successful, engineers will attempt to fly the reusable vehicle to 150 meters above SpaceX’s test site near Boca Chica Beach in southern Texas.

Musk said the next version of Starship, SN5, will be fitted out with three Raptor engines to conduct higher flight tests.

4 responses to “SpaceX’s Starship Survives Cryogenic Pressurization Test”

  1. duheagle says:

    Based on the most recently posted bocachicagal footage at, SN5 is hard on SN4’s heels as the latter is being prepared for wet dress rehearsals with real propellants, static fire(s) and a low-altitude, low-speed hop test. A complete nosecone has already been joined to a stack of three hull rings. Another stack of four hull rings sat next to said subassembly in a high bay and may have already been joined, in turn, to produce a full-length upper half for SN5. SN5 assembly, except for its movable aero surfaces, could be complete by the time SN4 is mostly or completely done with its planned tests over the coming week or so.

    It will be interesting to see just how the new design for the Starship movable aero surfaces differs from the one seen previously, if briefly, on Mk1. At recent rates of progress it seems quite possible that SN5 could be completely assembled and put through all its intended ground-level testing before DM-2 flies in late May. If the FAA can complete license processing in time, SN5 might even make at least one multi-klick hop during this interval as well.

    It would be nice if FAA licensing turns out not to be on the critical path for both SN4 and SN5 test hops, but I’m still leaning toward the dubious side on that.

    • ThomasLMatula says:

      Yep, moving forward. Also waiting to see the Raptor do its stuff. Reports are it’s Serial Number 26 and includes almost a year of improvements based on almost weekly testing of earlier Raptors at
      McGregor to find the bugs and root them out.

    • Saturn1300 says:

      Looks like thurs-Fri for static fire by road closers. Rapter was seen moving at 4:21 pm yesterday. They removed the hyd systems used to simulate thrust loads yesterday. So ready for engines. They sure have a lot cranes. Dangerous. I was removing trusses from a truck and one broke and the large steel ball swung and missed me by 3′ or so many years ago in home construction. No hard hat. At least they have them.

  2. Andrew Tubbiolo says:

    Good going guys. Congrats to all involved.

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