In a significant development, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has expressed optimism about granting SpaceX clearance to launch its groundbreaking mega rocket, Starship, by the end of October. The announcement comes after Starship faced a setback during its inaugural test flight in April, resulting in a fiery explosion over the Gulf of Mexico.
Last week, the FAA concluded its safety investigation into the incident and presented SpaceX with a list of 63 corrective actions required to secure a launch license. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the company had already completed and documented 57 of these actions, with the remaining six pertaining to later flights.
To add to the anticipation, SpaceX recently shared images and videos of Starship on the launch pad, fully stacked and ready for action, located in Brownsville, Texas.
However, the FAA has noted that these corrective actions must also undergo an environmental review process, considering that Starship’s previous test launch led to damage to the launchpad and a significant fire in Boca Chica State Park.
The FAA has stated that it is actively engaged in an environmental review process, including consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. They are hopeful that this review will conclude by the end of next month, with the safety review of the launch license application possibly finishing by the end of October.
The success of Starship holds immense significance for both NASA and SpaceX, as it plays a vital role in future deep-space exploration endeavors. NASA intends to use Starship to land astronauts on the moon for the first time in decades, with the Artemis III mission potentially launching in December 2025. However, concerns have been raised about possible delays due to the challenges SpaceX has encountered.