FLORIDA- SpaceX is planning another test flight for its mega-rocket on Friday, following the final approval from federal regulators. The initial launch of Starship resulted in an explosion shortly after liftoff from South Texas in April.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the license on Wednesday, confirming that SpaceX has fulfilled safety, environmental, and other criteria for a relaunch. Elon Musk’s rocket company announced that it is aiming for Friday morning.
SpaceX Starship Exploded
After the self-destruct system caused the rocket to explode over the Gulf of Mexico, SpaceX implemented numerous improvements to the nearly 400-foot rocket and the launch pad, resulting in a substantial crater beneath it.
SpaceX holds a $3 billion NASA contract to land astronauts on the lunar surface by 2025, utilizing the Starship spacecraft.
About a month ago, the FAA completed its safety assessment for the upcoming Starship launch but required additional time for the environmental review.
While the initial attempt did not result in injuries, the launch pad sustained significant damage when the rocket’s 33 main engines ignited at liftoff.
Impact on Environment
Subsequently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that concrete fragments, steel sheets, and other debris were ejected thousands of feet from the pad. A plume of pulverized concrete also dispersed material several miles away.
Environmental and wildlife groups filed a lawsuit against the FAA, alleging the agency’s failure to fully consider the environmental impacts of the Starship program near Boca Chica Beach.
The test flight is planned to last 90 minutes, falling short of a full orbit of Earth. The trajectory will take the spacecraft eastward, over the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans before landing near Hawaii. The craft will not carry anything of value.
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