Starship Grounded By FAA For Corrective Actions

( – Following a catastrophic explosion during its April debut, SpaceX’s Starship has been grounded by federal regulators until the company fixes crucial systems.

During the first test, the ship had to be destroyed on purpose after veering out of control shortly after launching from Boca Chica Beach in Texas. It eventually crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Fuel leaks during ascent ignited fires at the rocket’s tail, leading to the disconnection from the main flight computer and a loss of control.

The explosion drew the scrutiny of both regulators, mandated by law to initiate an inquiry, and environmentalists who had already called for a comprehensive examination of potential hazards to public safety and wildlife.

SpaceX had cautioned prior to the launch that success was uncertain, framing it as a data-gathering test flight. Following the accident, SpaceX founder Elon Musk made improvements to the 394-foot (120-meter) rocket, which is nearly the length of three passenger jets, and fortified the launch pad. A revamped Starship now stands on the modified pad, ready for liftoff, albeit flying empty as before. SpaceX characterized the mission positively, emphasizing the lessons learned from the flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), responsible for overseeing launch site safety, has now concluded its investigation into SpaceX’s ill-fated launch of Starship, identifying “multiple root causes” for the failure. It has mandated that the company should make 63 corrective actions to prevent an explosion before launching the rocket again. Additionally, SpaceX must apply for a revised FAA license before it can resume launches.

The conclusion of the investigation marks a significant step for SpaceX in bringing Starship to space for the first time. This achievement is a pivotal testing milestone preceding the rocket’s use for commercial satellite missions and human lunar landings for NASA. Ultimately, Elon Musk envisions a fleet of Starships for transporting people and supplies to Mars.

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