FAA approves SpaceX for a second Starship launch


Recap: The Federal Aviation Administration has given SpaceX the green light for its second Starship launch attempt. Starship’s maiden voyage took place back in April and was quite the spectacle. While the heavy-lift rocket did make it off the launch pad, several of its Raptor engines failed shortly after. Worse yet, Starship was unable to separate from the Super Heavy booster and the mission ended shortly after via the flight termination system.

Starship caused unexpected damage to the launch pad infrastructure, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service noted a massive debris field cause by its “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”

The FAA finalized its safety review at the end of October but was still waiting on an environmental review from the Fish and Wildlife Service. In a newly shared statement to Space, the FAA said it determined that SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, and financial responsibility requirements for another launch.

SpaceX said it is targeting November 17 for Starship’s second flight from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. A two-hour launch window will open at 8 a.m. Eastern. Should everything go according to plan, the first-stage Super Heavy booster should drop into the Gulf of Mexico shortly after launch. The upper-stage Starship vehicle will splash down in the Pacific near Hawaii.

Over the summer, SpaceX installed a water deluge system at the launch site to protect against the immense heat and power generated at launch. When Starship lifted off in April, it caused significant damage to the launch pad. Debris was reportedly found up to 6.5 miles away.

Footage from a test of the system shows it unleashing a tremendous amount of water at the base of the launch pad. If nothing else, the sheer amount of steam generated at launch should be impressive.

SpaceX plans to stream the launch live on the Internet. The broadcast will start about 35 minutes before liftoff, we are told, and can be viewed on SpaceX’s X account. SpaceX eventually hopes Starship can be used to send astronauts to the Moon, and Mars.


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