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Launch approval for SpaceX’s Starship rocket

Photo: Elon Musk

According to CNN, SpaceX’s Starship rocket has been authorized for launch by the FAA and might begin its maiden orbital flight test next week.

Using SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket, Starship will transport personnel and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars. SpaceX plans an April 17th Starship launch from its Texas Starbase.

SpaceX’s launch website announces a live broadcast of the “150-minute test window” at 8 AM ET.

After a rigorous licensing review procedure, the FAA said SpaceX fulfilled all safety environment, policy, payload, airspace integration, and financial responsibility standards—a five-year license.

The FAA has outlined various measures to decrease the impact of commercial airline flights and other local airspace uses:

The FAA will shut and reopen airspace based on mission “triggers” such as fuel loading and booster rocket disposal.

The FAA will use timed Boca Chica launches for the first time. This will detect and reroute the aircraft affected by the blocked airspace, keeping more aircraft on their most efficient routes. It was exclusively used for Florida space coast launches.

The Space Data Integrator tool will send FAA telemetry from the Starship vehicle and Super Heavy booster rocket. Position, altitude, speed, and any variation from its projected flight route can assist the FAA in reopening airspace faster.


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