The FAA seems satisfied with its investigations into Elon Musk’s last two SpaceX Starship tests, each of which ended in an explosive crash, and the conclusion of those investigations should clear the way for a new SN10 flight in the very near future. In fact, Musk just tweeted there’s a “good chance of flying this week!”
Late last month, we broke the news that SpaceX had violated its launch license with its Starship SN8 launch in December, but an FAA spokesperson now says that matter has already been settled, according to CNN’s Jackie Wattles.
SpaceX flies Starship prototype rocket to highest altitude yet — but doesn’t stick the landing
Another SpaceX Starship nails clean test flight, but explodes on landing
Elon Musk’s SpaceX violated its launch license in explosive Starship test, triggering an FAA probe
As for the SN9, which similarly exploded during a landing attempt on February 2nd, the FAA says it “failed within the bounds of the FAA safety analysis” and “its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property.”
“The FAA provided oversight of the SN9 mishap investigation conducted by SpaceX. The SN9 vehicle failed within the bounds of the FAA safety analysis. Its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property.” (2/4)
— Jackie Wattles (@jackiewattles) February 19, 2021
It’s not yet clear when the Starship SN10 might launch, but Boca Chica is already closing the local highway and beach in preparation for “non-flight testing activities” on Monday, which some are interpreting to mean a static fire test.
A note, the paperwork filed for next week’s closure specifies – activities. For comparison, the SN9 flight was described as ‘space flight activities’ in the same part of the equivalent filing.
Throttle expectations appropriately.https://t.co/7Er5HdRaH6 pic.twitter.com/SZSwkOkLvn
— Boca Chica Road Closures (@BocaRoad) February 19, 2021
NASASpaceflight journalist BocaChicaGal has been following progress at the launch site closely, and seems like a stellar follow if you’d like to keep tabs as well. Elon Musk tweeted earlier that he thinks the SN10 has a 60 percent chance of actually landing. Better than a coin flip, I suppose?
Update, 4:35PM ET: Added Musk’s comment that SN10 might launch this week.