Elon Musk Nods In Agreement with SpaceX VP On FAA Reform: 'We're Not Able To Go Fly Because Of Regulations'

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Thursday agreed to company vice president William Gerstenmaier as the latter called for a reform of the space division of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

What Happened: “The pace of American regulation must match the pace of American innovation. We are falling behind,” Gerstenmaier said on Wednesday. He was speaking at the Space and Science Subcommittee Hearing on promoting safety, innovation, and competitiveness in U.S. commercial human space activities.

There has been huge progress in the field of space with SpaceX launching roughly once every four days. However, it continues to face regulatory headwinds, the company executive said.

The Starship has been ready for over a month and is still awaiting license approval for the second test flight. This is despite the fact that Starship is an integral part of NASA’s Artemis mission to land astronauts on the lunar surface for the first time since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972, he noted.

"It's a shame when our hardware is ready to fly, and we're not able to go fly because of regulations or review," Gerstenmaier said.

The role of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) is to ensure public safety and not to ensure successful launches, he said while adding that unsuccessful launches are a way to learn in the field. He also recommended a few measures to reform the division so as to improve the regulatory process.

Musk responded to the comments made by the vice president and said, “He has a point.”

Delay In Starship: SpaceX conducted the first test launch of Starship on April 20 and the rocket exploded in less than four minutes after take-off. 

On Sept. 5, Musk said that Starship is ready for its next flight test and merely awaiting the green light from the FAA, which hasn’t come to date. Late last month, Musk himself expressed frustration at the delay in procuring a modified license and termed it ‘unacceptable.'

“That is unacceptable. It is absurd that SpaceX can build a giant rocket faster than they can shuffle paperwork!,” Musk then wrote on X. 

Photo Courtesy: Frederic Legrand – COMEO On Shutterstock.com

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