FAA Completes Safety Review For SpaceX Starship Launch License


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made significant progress in the review process for SpaceX’s Starship, marking an important milestone towards the company’s next launch. On Tuesday, regulators announced the completion of a safety review focused on assessing the potential impacts of a Starship launch on public health and property. This review evaluated various aspects of SpaceX’s safety organization, system safety processes, flight safety analysis, and risk criteria for launch, reentry, and vehicle disposal.

Key Takeaway

The Federal Aviation Administration has completed the safety review portion of the launch license for SpaceX’s Starship, advancing the company’s progress towards its next launch.

Although the completion of the safety review is a significant step, it does not mean that SpaceX has received the green light for launch just yet. The company is still awaiting the results of the ongoing environmental assessment, which is being conducted by the FAA in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). This assessment, performed under the Endangered Species Act, will primarily focus on the potential environmental impacts of the Starship launch.

The FAA and FWS initiated the environmental review on October 19 and have 135 days to provide an updated assessment. One crucial aspect of consideration is SpaceX’s newly implemented water deluge system, installed after the rocket booster’s powerful engines destroyed the orbital launch mount during the first Starship orbital flight test in April.

SpaceX’s Starship is renowned as the most powerful rocket in human history. The towering Super Heavy booster and upper stage, collectively known as Starship, first took flight on April 20 but experienced a failure to complete stage separation, resulting in the rocket being automatically self-destructed over the Gulf of Mexico.

In recent testimonies, SpaceX has expressed its readiness for a second orbital flight test. Bill Gerstenmaier, SpaceX’s VP of build and flight reliability, confirmed that Starship has been prepared for its next flight test for over a month. Furthermore, the company conducted a wet dress rehearsal of the fully stacked vehicle last week in preparation for the upcoming launch.

As SpaceX eagerly awaits the results of the environmental assessment, the completion of the safety review signifies positive progress in the regulatory process. It brings the company closer to achieving its goal of conducting another successful Starship launch, as it continues to push the boundaries of space exploration and innovation.

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