FAA nears approval for SpaceX’s second Starship launch

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could issue a license to SpaceX for the second Starship launch as early as next month. This news comes after the first launch in April ended in an explosion of the Starship rocket, which subsequently launched a mishap investigation by the FAA.

Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg expressed optimism about the ongoing collaboration between the FAA and SpaceX, stating that teams have been working closely together to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

“We’re working well with them and have been in good discussions. Teams are working together and I think we’re optimistic sometime next month,” said Trottenberg. (via Reuters)

Last week the FAA closed their mishap investigation, identifying “multiple root causes” and coming up with 63 corrective actions that SpaceX must undertake before it can launch another mission. These measures include hardware modifications to prevent leaks and fires, as well as reinforcing the launchpad to withstand the powerful forces generated during liftoff.

A few days later Elon Musk shared on X that the Starship team had already completed with all of the corrective actions, with the exception of five that were relevant only for future flights beyond the second launch.

While the FAA may be close to issuing a launch license, it does not necessarily mean we will see a launch next month. Before SpaceX can launch the Starship a second time, it must secure separate environmental approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the duration of which remains uncertain.

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