Due to an environmental review pushed back by the FAA, the first orbital test for SpaceX’s Starship has been delayed. Elon Musk had previously confirmed that the plan was for the test flight to happen soon after the review was completed. The original completion goal for the review was February 28.
However, the Federal Flight Administration (FAA) decided to extend the completion target date. The review is for the launch site of Boca Chica, TX. The target date has now been extended another month, with the FAA hoping to finish on or before March 28. As for the Starship orbital test, it will likely be pushed back until April or even later.
This is not the first time that the review has been pushed back. Due to a lot of comments submitted about the SpaceX application, it was originally extended from December 31 to February 28. It’s unclear if these delays will impact the yearly schedule for SpaceX’s Starship. They had hoped to have it running full orbit operations before the end of 2022. They have not commented on this latest delay.
Finishing the Environmental Review Doesn’t Mean That the Starship Will Launch
The FAA review covers public safety issues, national security concerns, foreign policy concerns, insurance requirements, and environmental impact. Even then, a review doesn’t mean that SpaceX will be given a launch vehicle operator license. On top of that, the company has to meet any safety, risk, and financial responsibility requirements.
This FAA review is needed for SpaceX to get permission to put the Starship into orbit. So far, test flights for the rocket have only been a few miles into the sky. To fully test the rocket, they need the FAA license. As of right now, the Starship rockets have undergone nine test flights. Some of them have been successful, while others resulted in crash landings or even explosions.
SpaceX Starship Will Be Used to Put Humans on Mars
The SpaceX Starship will be used to help Elon Musk achieve his goal of putting humans on Mars. That’s a long way off, though. Musk has said that the rocket will most likely take its first trip to the Red Planet in 2024. Even then, it will only carry cargo. The first manned mission would happen two years after that, in 2026.
The Daily Mail reports that the Starship rocket will be fully reusable. It’ll be able to travel from Earth directly to Mars. Elon Musk thinks that the SpaceX Starship will also be able to be used for other types of travel, too. For example, he thinks that the rocket could be used for traveling around Earth. According to him, travelers would be able to get anywhere in under an hour.
Not only will the rocket be essential to Musk’s space travel vision, but it will also reform the space industry as we know it.