SpaceX has taken a major step toward a second test launch of its most powerful rocket ever to fly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it has completed its safety review, which notes that To what extent can the launch pose a threat to the public? Health and surrounding property.
The Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft – collectively known as Starship – flew for the first time in April this year, but just minutes after launch the unmanned vehicle encountered an anomaly, causing Because it burst in the air.
After a series of engine tests and a redesign of the launchpad, which broke due to the force of a launch from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica last spring, SpaceX says it is ready to fly again.
But before that happens, the FAA still has to complete an environmental review that will assess the launch’s impact on things like wildlife in the surrounding area.
“The FAA is continuing to work on the environmental review,” the agency said in a statement seen by Space.com. “As part of its environmental review, the FAA is consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on an updated biological assessment under the Endangered Species Act. The FAA and USFWS must complete this consultation before the environmental review portion of the license evaluation can be completed.
The FAA said the environmental review is the last major step that needs to be completed before the agency makes a final decision on handing the launch permit to SpaceX.
NASA is waiting on approval from the FAA and SpaceX as it plans to use a modified version of the Starship spacecraft for the Artemis III mission to send the first astronauts to the Moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Artemis III is due in 2025. , but that date may slip.
In the future, the Starship rocket, which packs a massive 17 million pounds of thrust at launch, could also be used for crewed missions to Mars and beyond, but first it will have to achieve its first orbital flight in a test mission. Which will hopefully happen before the end of this year.