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SpaceX Starship gets long-awaited U.S. regulatory approval for launch

SpaceX Starship
Starship collectively refers to a SpaceX spacecraft and super heavy rocket, representing a fully reusable transportation system.


SpaceX’s Starship rocket has received the long-awaited approval from the U.S. civil aviation regulator – Federal Aviation Administration – for the launch of its first test flight. The delay in the launch of the first Starship orbital flight was primarily due to a delay in SpaceX getting a launch license from the FAA.


“After a comprehensive license evaluation process, the FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, payload, airspace integration and financial responsibility requirements,” the FAA said in a statement on Friday. “The license is valid for five years.”


The Elon Musk-owned company is targeting the launch of the first flight test of a fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket from Texas Starbase as soon as Monday at 8:00 a.m. CT (6:30 pm IST). The first orbital flight of SpaceX Starship was previously reported for lift-off on April 10, with April 11 and April 12 as other backup dates. But it was shifted to the third week of April due to pending regulatory approval.


Starship, which collectively refers to a SpaceX spacecraft and super heavy rocket, represents a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, the Moon, and Mars. The American company has to date completed multiple sub-orbital flight tests of Starship’s upper stage from Starbase. In addition to this, the SpaceX team has conducted numerous tests of the Super Heavy rocket, including “the increasingly complex static fires that led to a full-duration 31 Raptor engine test – the largest number of simultaneous rocket engine ignitions in history.”


At 146 meters, or nearly 500 feet tall, the launch and catch tower that is claimed to be the world’s tallest is designed to support vehicle integration, launch, and catch of the Super Heavy rocket booster. The company said that its team will not attempt a vertical landing of Starship or a catch of the Super Heavy booster for its first flight test.


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