FAA approves SpaceX spacecraft prototype for third launch and landing attempt

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already cleared the flight with Starship serial number 10 (SN10), shortening any potential licensing issues facing the latest high-altitude Starship launch efforts from SpaceX.

Less than three weeks ago, Starship serial number 9 (SN9) took off from SpaceX’s launch facility in South Texas after a tedious week of opaque licensing “ problems ” that the FAA only vaguely addressed. The regulatory body never offered an explanation as to why it publicly dragged SpaceX through the embers in January and February for alleged “launch license violations” during the debut of the Starship SN8 launch on December 8, or why the FAA only mentioned those claimed issues for more than a month. after the event.

Ultimately, the most likely explanation for its highly inconsistent and flawed answer is that the FAA itself, minus SpaceX, made a mistake somewhere in the licensing of SN8 for the flight and only discovered the mistake long after it was concluded. the launch. Intentionally or not, the agency went to great lengths to blame SpaceX, never providing enough details for outsiders to actually determine the cause of the fight. Had SpaceX been obviously wrong, nothing would have stopped the FAA from offering the public a genuine explanation or publishing the incontrovertible evidence that would inevitably follow such an intentional and calculated launch license violation.

Of course, the FAA never released that unequivocal data or offered those clear answers. Fortunately, however, Starship SN9 was finally cleared for flight. Now, less than a month later, Starship SN10 has also been cleared to fly after the FAA. “Awarded SpaceX Launch Modification for Starship SN10”. It is unclear why SpaceX is choosing, or being forced, to modify its existing Starship general launch license between three virtually identical launches, but regardless, SN10 is now the first Starship to receive permission from the FAA for a launch to high altitude and SpaceX itself has approved. the vehicle for the flight.

As of publication, SpaceX is in the middle of a Monday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST (UTC-6) window reserved for the Starship SN10’s first wet dress test (WDR) and the attempted static engine fire. Abductor. Marshals have had the only access road closed for hours, but SpaceX has yet to clear the launch pad. If work continues on the platform and rocket, Starship SN10’s most important pre-flight acceptance test will likely slide into an identical window on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SpaceX has already submitted temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) to the FAA for possible SN10 launch attempts on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, suggesting that the company expects to turn around Starship to fly just 24-72 hours after a successful static fire. Stay tuned for updates as SpaceX works to make its third Starship launch before the end of the month.

FAA approves SpaceX spacecraft prototype for third launch and landing attempt

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