Led by Elon Musk, SpaceX is preparing to launch a prototype Starship SN10 launch vehicle on its next test flight over 10 kilometers from its South Texas site in the near future. The preparations are no longer standing in the way – SpaceX and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have just completed an investigation into a previous launch, which ended on February 2 with an SN9 explosion during landing.
“Today the FAA Closed the investigation into the February 2 incident with the SpaceX prototype Starship SN9, paving the way for SN test flight10, which is currently awaiting approval for an updated license– said an FAA spokesman in a statement via email. – FAA provided oversight of the SN incident investigation9 by SpaceX… Ship SN9 out of order within FAA safety limits… Its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not pose a danger to the population or property. All debris was within the designated hazardous area. FAA approved the final incident report including likely causes and corrective actions. “
By the way, we already wrote that SpaceX, based on the SN8 and SN9 tests, made improvements to Starship SN10, thanks to which the chance of a successful landing has doubled: according to Musk’s estimate, now it is about 60%. During the launch of SN8, a company executive said the odds of success are one in three.
SpaceX is developing Starship to deliver people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and other distant places in space. The final version will receive six Raptor engines (versus three for the current prototypes) for spacewalk. The reusable spacecraft is 50 meters in height, and it should be launched into orbit using a giant 70-meter Super Heavy rocket, which will receive about 30 Raptor engines. The next Starship prototypes are already being prepared, with SN11 supposed to include more serious changes compared to SN8, SN9 and SN10.
Test flights require FAA approval. In January, SpaceX violated the FAA’s launch license, prompting an investigation and prompting the company to delay testing the SN9 and take a number of security measures required by the Civil Aviation Authority. Elon Musk, frustrated by the FAA’s actions, even commented on Twitter: “Unlike its aviation division, which is operating normally, the FAA’s space division has fundamental problems in its regulatory structure. Their rules are designed for several launches of disposable rockets per year from several government facilities. Adhering to such procedures, humanity will never get to Mars “…
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