SpaceX Gets One Step Closer To First Starship Orbital Test Flight

Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk-owned SpaceX said on Monday that it is now a step closer to the first orbital flight test of its Starship from the Boca Chica launch site in Texas following a key Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review.

What Happened: The FAA on Monday gave a green light for SpaceX to test its huge Starship rocket provided the privately-held space company takes more than 75 actions to mitigate the environmental impact on the area.

The key review, originally expected to be cleared late last year, was pushed back several times and has held back SpaceX’s plans to conduct test flights. The reviews were delayed to include public comments and views of other agencies. 

The mitigation measures include among other things reducing the time State Highway 4 is closed during the launch, allowing a biologist to monitor plant and animal populations in the area, and keeping the local community informed about activities that could produce loud noises such as sonic booms, helping to ensure that launch debris is cleared from sensitive habitat and more.

See Also: Elon Musk Says Falcon 9's Merlin Is Simpler Than Starship's Raptor: Here's Why

Why It Matters: SpaceX is currently building 39 flight-worthy Raptor 2 engines that will be ready by next month, following which it will take another month to integrate them with the reusable, 400-foot tall Starship rocket.

Musk dreams of colonizing Mars and has been working towards building a rocket that can transport human and commercial cargo to space.

Posted In: NewsSPACEGeneralFAASpaceXStarship