FAA clears SpaceX to launch Starship flight


A prototype spacecraft is seen stacked on top of a Super Heavy booster at the company’s launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.


The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Starship launch license to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a crucial final regulatory step that allows the company to attempt an orbital launch of its massive rocket for the first time.

“After a comprehensive license evaluation process, the FAA determined that SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, payload, airspace integration and liability requirements. The license is valid for five years,” the FAA said in a statement.

SpaceX, with the FAA license now in hand, aims to launch Starship as early as Monday from its private facility in Texas along the Gulf Coast.

“SpaceX is targeting the first flight test of a fully integrated spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket from Starbase, Texas as early as Monday, April 17. The 150-minute test window will open at 7:00 a.m. CT,” SpaceX said. in a press release. statement.

Sign up here to receive weekly editions of CNBC’s Investing in Space newsletter.

The company recently stacked Starship Prototype 24 on Super Heavy Booster Prototype 7 in preparation for launch. Together they are nearly 400 feet tall. SpaceX completed a test-firing of the Super Heavy booster, which has 33 Raptor engines at its base, in February in one of the final technical steps toward launch.

SpaceX has been preparing for the first orbital flight test of its Starship rocket for several years, with company management stressing the experimental nature of the launch. While SpaceX had hoped to complete Starship’s first orbital launch as early as summer 2021, progress delays and regulatory approval have pushed that schedule back.

The rocket is expected to lift off from SpaceX’s development facility near Brownsville, Texas, before heading east across the Gulf of Mexico, according to documents filed in 2021 that revealed the flight plan. The ultimate goal of the mission is to reach orbit, with the rocket aiming to travel most of the way around Earth and crash into the Pacific Ocean off Kauai, Hawaii.

Starship is designed to transport goods and people beyond Earth and is essential to NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the Moon. SpaceX won a nearly $3 billion contract from the space agency in 2021 to use Starship as a crewed lunar lander.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top