Starship gets FAA permission to debut on Monday
Starship - Super Heavy is designed to carry cargo and people beyond Earth.
The first test flight of SpaceX's Starship - Super Heavy system is scheduled for Monday, April 17 at 8:00 am EDT, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted today, Friday, April 14, the environmental license for launch the company. This will be the first test flight of a fully integrated rocket, a fully reusable transport system designed to carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, carry cargo and astronauts to the Moon in NASA's Artemis program, and fly to Mars. The Starship S24 spacecraft and the Super Heavy B7 rocket, together, form the most powerful launch vehicle in the world, capable of carrying more than 100 tons into Earth orbit. It is expected that once launched, the Super Heavy and Starship will separate, then the Super Heavy will dive into the Gulf of Mexico, while Starship will enter fractional orbit. Shortly thereafter, the spacecraft will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and crash into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. There was no official update from the FAA regulatory agency this week – until last night, when the license was finally issued.
On April 14, the FAA issued SpaceX a vehicle operator license to launch the Starship/Super Heavy from Boca Chica, Texas. After a comprehensive license evaluation process, the FAA determined that SpaceX met all requirements for safety, environment, policy, payload, airspace integration and financial responsibility. The license is valid for five years. The FAA is responsible for protecting the public during commercial space shuttle launch and re-entry operations. We carefully analyzed public safety risks during each stage of the mission and required SpaceX to mitigate those risks.
In addition, the FAA will implement several airspace integration measures designed to reduce the impact of the launch on commercial airline flights and other airspace users.
The FAA will use key mission “triggers” such as propellant loading and final booster rocket deployment to identify when to close and reopen airspace.
For the first time, the FAA will implement time-based procedures for a Boca Chica launch. This will identify and reroute only those aircraft directly affected by the closed airspace, allowing more aircraft to stay on their most optimized and efficient routes. Previously, it had only been used for launches from Florida's Space Coast. Both the Starship vehicle and the Super Heavy rocket will transmit telemetry data to the FAA via the Space Data Integrator tool. Data such as position, altitude, speed and any deviations from your expected flight path will provide the FAA with situational awareness and, in combination with other information, help reopen airspace more quickly.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)