SpaceX Completes Starship ‘Wet Dress Rehearsal’, Moves Closer to First Launch [VIDEO]
SpaceX has completed a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) for its Starship 24 and Super Heavy Booster 7, signs it is moving one step closer to the rocket’s first orbital launch.
A wet dress rehearsal (WDR) is a type of rocket launch test in which all systems are activated and checked, including fueling the rocket, but the launch is then called off before the countdown reaches zero.
The “wet” part of the name refers to the fact that the rocket is fully fueled during the test, as opposed to a dry dress rehearsal in which the rocket is not fueled. The purpose of a WDR is to test and verify all systems and procedures prior to an actual launch, and to identify and resolve any issues that may arise. It is usually the last step before the actual launch.
A static fire, also known as a static test firing or hotfire, is a type of rocket engine test in which the engine is bolted to a test stand and fired while the rocket remains stationary. The purpose of a static fire test is to verify that the engine functions correctly and that all systems, including fuel and oxidizer flow, ignition, and thrust, are working properly. It’s also used to check the engine’s performance, such as thrust, and the behavior of the engine when it’s fired up.
Static fire tests are usually conducted before a rocket launch to ensure that the engine is in good working condition and that all systems are functioning correctly. The results of the static fire test will be analyzed and any issues identified will be addressed before the actual launch. Static fire tests are typically conducted as a last step before launch.
In Starship’s case, there are 33 Raptor engines that still need to be fully-tested in a static fire. It’s unclear when this will happen but after this successful WDR, we may see it happening soon. Even after the static fire is complete, SpaceX still needs a launch license from the FAA to test its first orbital Starship launch.
You can watch a full replay of the WDR below, as shared by NASASpaceflight. You can see how the exterior stainless steel shows frost as propellant is loaded into Starship and the booster itself: