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SpaceX awaits FAA approval for Starship launch
SpaceX awaits FAA approval for Starship launch
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 6, 2023

Elon Musk said Tuesday that SpaceX is ready to launch a second test flight of its Starship and awaits Federal Aviation Administration approval nearly five months after the first test in Texas exploded over the Gulf of Mexico.

The updated Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built, was rolled out to the launching pad where it will wait for FAA approval before setting a new date for liftoff. In a second static fire test, all 33 of its new Raptor engines lit up, giving engineers hope for a better outcome from April.

"Starship is ready to launch, awaiting FAA license approval," Musk said on the social media platform X.

The company posted a video of Starship fully stacked on the launch pad Tuesday evening.

In April, the first and second stages failed to separate, among other problems after liftoff from Boca Chica, Texas. That resulted in SpaceX sending a self-destruct command 4 minutes after the launch.

If Starship had survived, it would have traveled east and splashed down near Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The new Starship will have a similar test mission for SpaceX engineers.

Some of the changes SpaceX made include allowing the upper stage lights its engines before it has fully separated from the first-stage booster. Engineers had to modify the Booster 9, including the a new heat shield to protect the Starship's 25's fire.

SpaceX said the Starship will eventually take humans to the moon and even Mars once all the bugs are worked out.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly the direction in which Starship would have headed to Hawaii had it survived.

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