SpaceX Gets FAA Approval For Third Starship Test Flight

SpaceX is set for the third test flight of Starship at its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. On Wednesday the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approved Starship’s launch license, setting the stage for an early morning launch attempt on Thursday.

According to a post on X, the company is hoping to launch Starship during a 110-minute window, starting at 7:00am CT (5:00am PT/8:00am ET) on March 14.

Starship is 397-foot-tall launch vehicle designed as a fully reusable two-stage rocket, Starship and its Super Heavy booster are engineered to transport humans and cargo beyond Earth’s orbit, with the ultimate goal of reaching Mars, with its 33 Raptor engines and a capacity to carry 100 crew members.

Thursday’s test flight will be the third for SpaceX, with the company aiming for the successful ascent burn of both stages, in-space propellant transfer, and the controlled re-entry and splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

The first flight in April 2023 ended in an explosion due to a series of failures, while the second attempt in November saw the spacecraft self-destruct after a new stage separation procedure led to the destruction of the Super Heavy booster.

These flights however have been instrumental in SpaceX’s iterative testing process, with the company undertaking corrective actions to address the issues encountered.

The third test flight is set to demonstrate significant advancements in Starship’s capabilities, including the first ever re-light of a Raptor engine in space and the opening and closing of the spacecraft’s payload door. These milestones are crucial for validating the spacecraft’s design and operational reliability, paving the way for future crewed missions.

You can read the full FAA launch license below.

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