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SpaceX is testing its most powerful rocket ever ahead of flights to the Moon


The spacecraft is the cornerstone of Elon Musk's goal of colonizing Mars. Ahead, it aims to take a crew of civilians led by billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to the Moon and back - and will also be used to launch satellites.

SpaceX has tested its most powerful rocket system ever ahead of its planned civilian flights to the moon.

Yesterday, Elon Musk's company fired the engines on its Super Heavy booster, which makes up half of the ambitious Starship that is targeting its first orbital flight in the coming weeks.

Static testing didn't go entirely smoothly, as two of the Raptor's rocket engines didn't fire. The remaining 31 fired for approximately 10 seconds.

They'll still generate enough power to get into orbit, Musk said, having set a new record for the amount of thrust generated by a single rocket - 17 million pounds.

It remains to be seen if the billionaire's company will attempt another steady-fire test before the inaugural next-generation missile launches from Texas.

This could happen "in the next month or so," said SpaceX president Gwen Shotwell.

Shotwell would have been pleased with the outcome of Thursday's test in Boca Chica, located on the border between Texas and Mexico, having declared that "the real goal is not to blow up the launch pad."

There was no sign of any damage to the missile or infrastructure.

The satellite itself is a cornerstone of Musk's long-term goal to colonize Mars.

It is a two-stage missile system, the most powerful ever built, and stands nearly 400 feet (120 meters) high.

Watch: SpaceX's rocket launchers into orbit

The privately funded dearMoon mission aims to take a civilian crew — including an Irish-British artist from north London — to the moon and back aboard a Starship later this year.

NASA, which partially funded the spacecraft, also plans to use it to land the first crew of astronauts on the Moon in more than 50 years via the Artemis programme.

But Shotwell indicated earlier this week that it would first need to launch hundreds of uncrewed satellite missions before the first human flight.

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