On Dec. 9, 2020, SpaceX sent one of its Starship Mars rocket prototypes, dubbed SN8, on a high-altitude test flight for the first time. The successful launch and, which Elon Musk had warned ahead of time might be the ultimate outcome.
On Tuesday, we learned the whole scene came in defiance of the Federal Aviation Administration, the US regulatory agency that oversees much of commercial space activity and licenses SpaceX’s Starship prototypes to operate in American airspace.
“Prior to the Starship SN8 test launch in December 2020, SpaceX sought a waiver to exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations,” reads a statement from an FAA spokesperson. “After the FAA denied the request, SpaceX proceeded with the flight. As a result of this non-compliance, the FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation of the incident. All testing that could affect public safety at the Boca Chica, Texas, launch site was suspended until the investigation was completed and the FAA approved the company’s corrective actions to protect public safety.”
This revelation comes on the same morning the FAA announced it’s finally given the green light for SN8’s successor, SN9, to make its own high-altitude test flight from the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, development facility. SpaceX is currently undergoing preparations for.
The launch of SN9 has been repeatedly pushed back for weeks. Last week it became clear that approval from the FAA was the primary holdup, leading Elon Musk to criticize the agency publicly on Twitter.
Nonetheless, the FAA said Friday that it was working with SpaceX to approve a modified license for the launch of SN9.
“The corrective actions arising from the SN8 incident are incorporated into the SN9 launch license,” the FAA said later Tuesday.
SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I am trying to wrap my mind around this right now, and will likely have more to say about it, but I am just in complete shock that a licensee has violated a launch license and there seems to be no repercussions,” former FAA official Jared Zambrano-Stout wrote on Twitter. “If a licensee violates the terms of their launch license, they did so knowing that an uninvolved member of the public could have been hurt or killed. That is not exaggeration. They took a calculated risk with your life and property.”
An FAA spokesperson said the agency will likely not be providing further comment on the incident.
Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.
- SpaceX to resume rocket launches this month
- SpaceX breakthrough: Falcon 9 rocket launched successfully
- You can watch Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin reusable rocket launch this Sunday
- SpaceX outlines Falcon Heavy plans: Rocket can carry 117,000 pounds to orbit
- Reports: SpaceX Will Launch Their Rockets From This Texas Beach
- SpaceX's secret satellite mystery: 3 most likely answers
- SpaceX’s 'Starlink' proposal will launch 12,000 satellites for total worldwide broadband coverage
- SpaceX launches first Falcon 9 rocket since September explosion
- SpaceX returns to space and nails re-entry landing
- SpaceX will return to scene of its last explosion in December
- SpaceX test-fires modern escape system for Dragon astronauts
- Watch a replay of Elon Musk launching his Tesla Roadster into space on a Mars rocket
FAA denied SpaceX a safety waiver. Its Starship SN8 rocket launched anyway have 573 words, post on www.cnet.com at February 2, 2021. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.