Video of Falcon Heavy static fire test

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I have embedded below the fold the video that SpaceX has released of yesterday’s Falcon Heavy static fire test. This is the first footage I have seen that allows one to make a good estimate of the test’s length, though because the video has one edit during the firing the time length could have been edited.

The video makes it appear that the firing lasted seven seconds. Witnesses however suggest it lasted about twelve seconds, which was the length expected. The difference raises some questions. If the video was edited and the actual test lasted twelve seconds, one has to ask why SpaceX edited their video. Was there some proprietary information that SpaceX was protecting that would have been revealed had it kept the view locked on the close-up camera for the full twelve seconds? Or was there some issue that occurred during the test that they do not yet wish the public to see?

If the test did last only seven seconds, not twelve as planned, was there instead an issue that caused them to shut down early?

I’m not sure what to think. I am also of the mind that I might be over-analyzing this. Other footage from farther away suggests the test was for twelve seconds, as described by witnesses. The footage however is also not definitive. The trees prevent one from seeing exactly when the firing starts and stops.

We will have to wait and see what SpaceX does. If it schedules a launch relatively quickly, then all this analysis is what I suspect, mere junk. If not, or if they schedule a second static fire test, which was always an option, then this analysis is brilliant.

Personally, I prefer the former, not the latter.



  • Markus

    My 2 cents. Just using the sound from Chris Bergin’s live stream as a guide the test certainly seems to have been 12 seconds. There are very distinct starts and stops that are 12 seconds apart. There is a little echoing at the end but not so much to conceal that the burn has ended.

  • David Eastman

    The official SpaceX video you have here was clearly edited for “interest” not “data.” Note the change in viewpoint on the first part of the clip, that would obviously throw off any attempt to measure length, and the clip from further back is really just to show the plume, which means the clip is starting after the engines have already begun firing. I don’t think they edited to hide anything, I think the edits were just done by a media person who wanted to make an interesting presentation.

  • Tom

    As to the SpaceX released video, I see almost the entire test run once the view switches to the second view that was further away and incudes a great view of the exhaust chute. When I focusing on the exhaust chute activity, I see nearly the entire run missing only a nanosecond or two. And the run was only five (5) seconds in length or so which is the length SpaceX themselves advertised. I also saw the fifteen (15) second test length somewhere but I don’t believe that was a SpaceX offered number. Bottom Line: No mystery as the test lasted the advertised duration.

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