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SpaceX to launch Starship in October?

September 19, 2023

Second-guessing when Elon Musk’s massive Starship might launch is a challenge. The FAA set more than 60 modifications to the rocket before it would give permission to launch. There are potential problems from other US agencies, not least those involved in protecting the local environment at the Boca Chica launch site in South Texas.

There are also rumours that SpaceX is close to announcing an IPO. Perhaps it is waiting for a successful launch of Starship?

The FAA’s latest statement on Starship says it is “optimistic” that it could allow SpaceX to launch its make its 2nd launch of its mega-rocket by the end of October. Musk’s Starship has been grounded since its inaugural test flight in April ended when the rocket — the most powerful launch vehicle ever built — exploded over the Gulf of Mexico.

Musk, a week ago, listed the 57 remedial actions it had carried out on the FCC’s work list. Musk added that six of the 63 items were related to future flights, not this particular mission.

“The modifications SpaceX is making to (the) Starship program are also subject to an additional environmental review process. In August, as part of the environmental process, the FAA submitted a draft update of the Biological Assessment to US Fish and Wildlife for review and requested consultation under the Endangered Species Act,” the agency stated.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is urging the FCC to speed up its processing of satellite applications. SpaceX made the request in meetings with the US regulator last week according to a SpaceX FCC filing. “These small changes, which find significant support in the record, would have dramatic benefits for consumers and American space leadership,” SpaceX stated.

One of the rule changes being sought by SpaceX is the cancellation of extremely small changes to an existing application. SpaceX says it would like to see an end to those modifications “for the smallest changes to the mass, size, and physical characteristics of satellites system, even where those changes would reduce collision risk.”

“Permitting operators to continue to make improvements to their systems without formal modifications would strengthen space sustainability and allow operators to rapidly respond to issues,” SpaceX added.

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