SpaceX’s Starship Ordered to Stay Grounded by the FAA

2 October 23

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) scrutinized over every detail of the failed test launch in April, where the rocket exploded mid-flight. SpaceX was ready to do another test launch and were waiting for the FAA to approval to launch. Unfortunately, the test flight failed to get approval.

So, what exactly happened? Well, the FAA outlined 63 corrective actions that should help prevent the reoccurrence of test launch mishap in April. And until those corrective actions are performed the Starship aircraft is to remain grounded.

These are the corrective actions outlined in the FAA’s report: 

  • Redesigning of hardware to prevent leaks and fires.
  • Redesigning the launch pad to make it more robust.
  • Incorporating additional reviews in the design process.
  • Additional testing and analysis of the Autonomous Flight Safety system and other safety-critical systems and components.
  • Application of additional change control practices.

This is a serious blow to SpaceX as to perform these changes the Super Heavy rocket essentially involves re-designing it, which takes a lot of time and money. Until these corrective actions are performed and reviewed by the FAA SpaceX is not allowed to perform any test launches at its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

According to the FAA the implementation of these corrective actions is paramount to public safety and other environmental regulatory requirements.

Unfortunately, the full investigation report by the FAA will not be released to the public as it contains sensitive national data.

On April 20th the rocket launched seemingly successfully, but 3 minutes in its flight multiple engines lost power, the rocket began to tumble and was intentionally destroyed to avoid damage to surrounding area.

The explosion during test flight left a crater in the ground, flung debris into surrounding area, and impacted sensitive habitat. Environmental and cultural nonprofits sued the FAA after the incident.

Future success of the company’s Starlink satellite internet venture depends on the Starship space program. Rest assured SpaceX is scrambling to make Starship operational and cleared for future launch tests.

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