SpaceX has received final approval from federal regulators and plans to conduct another test flight of its massive rocket on Friday, launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The initial flight of Starship resulted in a blast just a few minutes after takeoff from South Texas in April.
On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration granted its approval for SpaceX to launch again, stating that the company has fulfilled all safety, environmental, and other criteria. SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, has announced that it plans to launch on Friday morning.
Following the detonation of the self-destruct mechanism over the Gulf of Mexico, SpaceX implemented numerous enhancements to the 400-foot (121-meter) rocket and launch pad. This resulted in a significant crater forming under the launch pad.
In 2025, SpaceX plans to use their spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon’s surface, thanks to a $3 billion contract with NASA.
The FAA has recently finished their safety assessment of the upcoming Starship launch, but they still require additional time to complete their environmental review. The first launch attempt did not result in any injuries, but the launchpad sustained significant damage due to the ignition of the 33 main engines during liftoff.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that pieces of concrete, steel sheets, and other items were thrown from the launch pad at a distance of thousands of feet (hundreds of meters). They also noted that a cloud of crushed concrete scattered material for several miles (up to 10 kilometers) away.
The FAA was sued by wildlife and environmental organizations for not adequately assessing the environmental consequences of the Starship program in the vicinity of Boca Chica Beach.
The scheduled test flight is expected to last 1 and a half hours and will not complete a full orbit around Earth. The spacecraft will travel in an eastward direction, flying over the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans before landing near Hawaii. There will be no valuable items on board.
The Health and Science Department of the Associated Press is backed by the Science and Educational Media Group of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is fully accountable for all of its content.