SpaceX is not yet cleared for another Starship Super Heavy test flight, FAA says

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The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that SpaceX is not yet clear for another test flight of its Starship Super Heavy launch vehicle.

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The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday that SpaceX is not yet clear for another test flight of its Starship Super Heavy launch vehicle.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had claimed Tuesday, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) which he now owns, that “Starship is ready to launch, awaiting FAA license approval.” The FAA has not yet approved SpaceX to launch another Starship vehicle after the April 2023 explosion. This caused a 4-acre fire on state park land and damaged sensitive habitat. It also sparked an approximately 4-acre fire on state park land.

The FAA will not authorize another Starship launch until SpaceX implements the corrective actions identified during the mishap investigation…

Federal Aviation Administration

The Starship launch “anomaly” triggered a mishap investigation that will be overseen by the FAA — a standard practice by the agency, which is responsible for protecting the public during commercial space transportation launch and reentry operations.

In a statement sent to CNBC on Wednesday night, the FAA said: “The SpaceX Starship mishap investigation remains open. The FAA won’t authorize another Starship until SpaceX takes the corrective measures identified during the investigation. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In July, the FAA was asked to deliver a briefing to the Senate and House appropriations committees on their mishap report, before SpaceX conducts any future Starship Super Heavy launches.

NASA is currently reliant on SpaceX alone to transport people from the U.S. into orbit. SpaceX’s Starship program aims to transport heavy science equipment to orbit and increase the volume of cargo and people that can be transported to the Moon or Mars. The New Yorker reported in December 2020 that Musk pushed SpaceX into going against FAA orders to conduct a test of a rocket named the SN8 at a time when the agency explicitly prohibited that activity. The SN8 rocket exploded.

More recently, SpaceX conducted several tests of a new, water deluge system at the Starship Super Heavy launch site in South Texas. The system is meant to keep the company’s launch pad cool during launches.

However, SpaceX built and conducted tests of the water deluge system all without obtaining the environmental permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that would normally be required to discharge industrial wastewater at the site.