SpaceX discloses cause of Starship anomalies as it clears an FAA hurdle

Enlarge / Starship launches on its second flight on November 18, 2023. (credit: SpaceX)

A little more than three months after the most recent launch of a Starship vehicle, which ended with both the booster and upper stage being lost in flight, the Federal Aviation Administration has closed its investigation of the mishap.

“SpaceX identified, and the FAA accepts, the root causes and 17 corrective actions documented in SpaceX’s mishap report,” the federal agency said in a statement issued Monday. “Prior to the next launch, SpaceX must implement all corrective actions and receive a license modification from the FAA that addresses all safety, environmental and other applicable regulatory requirements.”

SpaceX must still submit additional information to the FAA, which is responsible for the safety of people and property on the ground, before the agency completes its review of an application to launch Starship for a third time. The administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration, Kelvin Coleman, said last week that early to mid-March is a reasonable timeline for the regulatory process to conclude.

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