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SpaceX conducts 2 test firings of Starship 20 in Texas

By Clyde Hughes   |   Oct. 22, 2021 at 1:18 PM
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Cargo Dragon-2 spacecraft for NASA from Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on June 3. SpaceX had a test firing of its Starship 20 rocket in Texas on Thursday. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- SpaceX conducted two engine test firings of its Starship 20 prototype rocket at its facility near Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday

The launch vehicle, a part of SpaceX's plans to travel to the moon and eventually Mars, fired its engines for only seconds. The rocket was held down for a so-called static fire later. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently reviewing a license request for the rocket.

It was the massive rocket's first firing using its Raptor vacuum engine, designed for such missions where larger amounts of cargo and people will be onboard. SpaceX has been working to make the Starship 20 completely reusable with the ability to land itself much like its current Falcon 9 rockets.

The Starship 20 will eventually contain six Raptor engines, three standard and three vacuum, according to SpaceX has launched three-engine prototypes before that reached an altitude of six miles. Elon Musk's space company said it hopes to launch the fully-equipped rocket for test flights in the coming months.

Starship 20 and SpaceX's Super Heavy will launch from Brownsville and return to the Gulf of Mexico.