(DailyDig.com) – On November 15, SpaceX received clearance from the FAA to conduct a test launch, the second one, of their Starship rocket.
The FAA has approved SpaceX’s application for a license to launch their second Starship Super Heavy rocket. The FAA decided SpaceX fulfilled all environmental, policy, safety, and financial responsibility standards.
The reusable rocket is important for the Artemis NASA program, but its prior unsuccessful test flight in April sparked environmental and safety worries. The 165-foot vehicle’s maiden test launch this year from Boca Chica, Texas, bore a giant hole through the launch pad and scattered debris for many miles, causing the FAA to temporarily stop the testing.
After the first test of SpaceX’s rocket ended in an explosion, the FAA declared that the company must address dozens of concerns with the spacecraft. They came up with a list of 63 things to do at the site of the launch and on the Starship before SpaceX could try again.
Because of the FAA’s acceptance of Starship’s first test flight, which allegedly threw debris into a state park, cultural heritage and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the agency. The launch caused a fire at a state park, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed that no debris or dead animals were recovered on refuge territory.
Unless there is a change in regulations, SpaceX plans to conduct its second test launch on November 18. The mission will test a new technique for regulating the rocket’s thrust as well as a new stage-separation mechanism. The launchpad will be protected against a breakdown caused by a fire by a flame deflector of steel that is cooled by water.
NASA is pinning its hopes on Starship, commissioning SpaceX to build a lunar lander version of the spaceship in preparation for the Artemis III mission, which is scheduled for late 2025 and would send two US astronauts from Earth to the moon and return them back to Earth.
SpaceX envisions the rocket eventually transporting supplies and maybe people to Mars and possibly beyond.
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