The Federal Aviation Administration granted Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Wednesday a license to launch its massive Starship launch vehicle for a second time after it exploded during it debut test flight in April.
“The FAA has given license authorisation for the second launch of the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy vehicle. The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements,” said the regulatory authority. SpaceX said it plans to launch during a window that opens at 6.30 PM IST on Friday, November 17. You can live stream the launch through the link below.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 11, 2023
The launch vehicle’s first launch attempt in April can only be described as a partial success. Starship destroyed the launchpad at the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas during takeoff. This resulted in concrete and other chunks of the launchpad being flung across the landscape. The launch vehicle itself exploded shortly after it took off.
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The Starship spacecraft and the super heavy rocket, collectively referred to as Starship, represent the next generation of SpaceX’s launch system. When complete, Starship will be the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever built. It is designed to carry both astronauts and cargo to Earth’s orbit.
The FAA had initially grounded Starship after conducting an investigation into the April explosion. The federal regulators asked SpaceX to make many changes and complete many corrective actions before applying for the license again.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be looking closely as SpaceX goes through the testing phases of Starship’s development. The launch vehicle is crucial to many of the space agency’s future Artemis missions to the Moon. But there is a good chances that some future Artemis missions will happen later than earlier intended due to the delays with Starship.