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Starship delayed by US Fish & Wildlife Service

September 20, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Elon Musk’s giant Starship rocket is sitting on its launch pad at Boca Chica, South Texas, and all ready to go. But an approval from the US Fish & Wildlife Service is needed, and their investigation has reportedly not yet begun.

It seems that an inspection and subsequent approval could be given within a 30-135 day timeframe depending on the complexity of the task. The investigation will include an evaluation of the impact on ‘endangered species’ according to the Fish & Wildlife agency.

There seems to also be some confusion as to the Federal Aviation Authority, and whether it now needs to further approve the rocket’s flight once the environmental examinination of the site has taken place.

The most recent statement from the FAA says: “The FAA is optimistic it may complete the safety review of the licence application by the end of October. The modifications SpaceX is making to 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 U.S Fish and Wildlife for review and requested consultation under the Endangered Species Act.”

The worry from the SpaceX team is that the previous review from the Fish & Wildlife Service and the work under the Endangered Species Act had taken ten months to complete after a delay of four months. This sort of delay could push the Starship’s launch into 2024.

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