A fully stacked Starship was rolled to the pad this week for testing. The byline caught my eye, though (emphasis mine)

SpaceX moves a massive rocket with 33 engines to its launch pad for tests
No rocket with this many engines has ever successfully launched.

The "successfully launched" part is a clear nod to the failed Soviet N1 rocket, which had 42 engines (30 + 8 + 4) and went 0 for 4 in launch attempts.

What craft currently holds the "most engines successfully launched" record as of now?

  • $\begingroup$ Do attitude control jets count as rocket engines? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 14:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble Vertical thrust engines only. I know the RCS could technically count, but the number of the engines on the bottom are the ones doing the actual work. $\endgroup$
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble in the spirit of the question I would say no. Engines that provide substantial on-axis thrust. A payload of 50 satellites capable of putting themselves into final orbit doesn't count for 50 either. $\endgroup$
    – hobbs
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 14:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My money is on Falcon Heavy, it has a moderately large number of engines on a moderately large number of simultaneously ignited boosters. There may be single boosters that have more than 9 engines and vehicle designs that have more than three boosters, but I think the combination of 27 engines simultaneously running (28 egnines in total if you count the second stage) is fairly high. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of: space.stackexchange.com/questions/5402/… $\endgroup$
    – Dan Hanson
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 0:27


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