SpaceX gets the green light to launch its Starship rocket on Friday – La Presse

(Washington) America’s aviation regulator (FAA) gave SpaceX the green light on Wednesday for Elon Musk’s aerospace company’s second attempt to launch its Starship rocket, the most powerful ever built, after a spectacular explosion in April.

Posted at 5:54 p.m


In a press release, the FAA said that after the failure of the first launch of its new-generation rocket, the company had now met “all required criteria,” particularly in terms of safety, environmental and financial responsibility.

“We are planning for the second Starship test launch on Friday, November 17th,” SpaceX wrote on X following the FAA announcement.

A two-hour launch window will open at 7 a.m. local time (8 a.m. Eastern time) for liftoff from the SpaceX base in Boca Chica, Texas.

The development of Starship is being closely monitored by NASA, which relies on this spacecraft for its Artemis missions to the moon. A modified version of the machine will actually serve as a lunar lander to drop astronauts on the lunar surface.

On April 20, Starship launched for the first time in its full configuration from Texas. But several engines malfunctioned and SpaceX teams intentionally blew up the rocket after a few minutes.

The launch had thrown up a cloud of dust several kilometers northwest of the launch pad, which itself was badly damaged. Pieces of concrete had been catapulted under the power of the engines.

The failure led to the FAA launching an environmental and safety investigation and several environmental NGOs announcing their intention to sue SpaceX.

“We fear that this second launch will once again cause significant environmental damage,” Jared Margolis, lawyer for the NGO Center for Biological Diversity, told AFP.

Starship is a 120 meter high giant rocket that consists of two stages: the Super Heavy propulsion stage with its 33 engines and above it the spaceship Starship, which in the broader sense gives the entire rocket its name.

The real innovation is that it must be fully reusable, with the two stages designed to return to their launch pad for landing – reducing costs.

The flight plan will be the same as in April: The space probe must attempt to “circle almost completely around the Earth and dive into the water somewhere in the Pacific, directly off the coast of Hawaii,” the billionaire described. It will therefore technically not reach Earth’s orbit, but will be “just below”.