SpaceX has taken a major step toward the second test launch of the most powerful rocket ever to fly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had completed its safety review, which looked at the extent to which the launch could pose a danger to the public. health and nearby properties.
The Super Heavy Rocket and Starship spacecraft – collectively known as Starship – flew for the first time in April this year, but the unmanned vehicle experienced an anomaly minutes after launch, causing it to explode in mid-air.
Following a series of engine tests and a redesign of the launch pad, which was destroyed by the force of a launch from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, last spring, SpaceX said it was ready to fly again.
But before that happens, the FAA still has to complete an environmental review that will assess the launch’s impact on wildlife in the surrounding area.
“The FAA continues to conduct environmental reviews,” the agency said in a statement seen by Space.com. “As part of its environmental review, the FAA consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding an updated Biological Assessment under the Endangered Species Act. The FAA and USFWS must complete this consultation before the environmental review portion of the permit evaluation is completed.”
The FAA added that the environmental review is the last major step that needs to be completed before the agency makes a final decision to grant SpaceX a launch permit.
NASA is waiting for the FAA and SpaceX as it plans to use a modified version of the Starship spacecraft for the Artemis III mission to send the first astronauts to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Artemis III is supposed to take place in 2025, but that date could be missed.
In the future, the Starship rocket, which had 17 million pounds of thrust at launch, could even be used for manned missions to Mars and beyond, but first it must achieve its maiden orbital flight in a test mission that is expected to take a long time. . place before the end of this year.