FAA gives green light for SpaceX’s second Starship launch: What to expect

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted SpaceX approval for the second launch of its Starship rocket, following an intensive review of safety, environmental, and regulatory requirements. The upcoming liftoff is tentatively scheduled for this Friday, November 17th, with a 2-hour launch window starting at 7:00am CT (5:00am PT/8:00am ET).

The FAA confirmed in its launch license that SpaceX has met all necessary criteria, allowing the company to proceed with its mission. The first Starship launch in April was successful in that it lifted off the ground, but the Super Heavy booster experienced a failure about four minutes into the flight. The investigation revealed that leaking propellant from the booster was the primary cause, severing the connection with the vehicle’s primary flight computer.

To address concerns raised by environmental activists and local residents near the Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX had to implement 63 identified actions before receiving FAA clearance. The surrounding area suffered damage from the explosion, with debris striking at least one vehicle. The FAA insisted on modifications covering safety, environmental considerations, and other regulatory requirements.

The upcoming launch will showcase several enhancements, including a hot-stage separation system, a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, pad foundation reinforcements, and a water-cooled steel flame deflector.

Starship is set to fly for 90 minutes before making a vertical descent into the Pacific Ocean, contingent on preflight checks and weather conditions.

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