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Main Stage Hotfire: Our Biggest Test Yet

In the rocket business, every test is an important opportunity to learn — but certain tests stand out. We’re proud to announce that we completed perhaps the most challenging, most important, and most successful test in the history of our LauncherOne program: Last week, we lit up our Mojave site with our final full duration, full scale, full thrust – hell, full everything – test firing of LauncherOne’s main stage. That’s more than three minutes of controlled rocket thrust, using all of the same equipment we’ll use on our actual flights to orbit later this year.

Here’s one fun way to think about it: the data proved that if this stage wasn’t physically bolted down, it had the oomph to make the journey into space.

The sheer complexity of this test means its success was a big deal for all hands involved. Its real significance, though, is that it signals the end of a major part of our program. Simply put, there are no “firsts” remaining for us on the ground. Every single part of the system — whether that’s hardware, software, or processes — has now been demonstrated on our test stands.

Now, all that stands between us and our space shot is final assembly of our first orbital rocket and some key testing in the air with Cosmic Girl, building on the great flights we’ve already completed using a fully integrated-but-empty rocket. We’ve now loaded that rocket with fluid to simulate its weight when fully fueled — so stay tuned for updates as we progress through this final phase of our test flight campaign. 

This isn’t the end of the road, but we’re proud to have completed some of the most difficult steps along the way. With just a handful of critical milestones to go, we’re within arm’s reach of our first orbital flight test, and we couldn’t be more excited. 

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