Starship Test 3 before Xmas?
November 21, 2023
Starship Test Flight Number 3 could be ready for launch this side of Christmas. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is currently conducting its post-launch ‘mishap’ investigation on the November 18th Test Flight Number 2. But with zero injuries and no public property damage there is little for the FAA to worry about.
The FAA says: “A return to flight of the Starship Super Heavy is based on the FAA determining that any system, process or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety”.
In essence, Starship 2’s booster engines remained lit the entire flight. Stage separation worked as intended. The Starship engines then fired and stayed on until it made it to space and hit the intended coasting phase. Consequently, the FAA investigation should be very smooth this time.
The Test Flight 2 Flight Termination System saw the Starship fall from orbit (after a “rapid unscheduled disassembly”) and impacted the ocean North-East of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
However, much depends on the modifications SpaceX will be making ahead of Test Flight 3. Software updates are relatively easy, but physical alterations to the rocket might take time and depend on the FAA’s investigation and input back to SpaceX.