SpaceX gets approval to attempt third Starship test flight

Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted SpaceX a license (pdf), the third test flight of its Starship super-heavy vehicle could take place as early as Thursday morning. SpaceX said the 110-minute launch window will open tomorrow (March 14) at 7 a.m. Central Time / 8 a.m. Eastern Time / 5 a.m. Pacific Time.

If you plan on watching what happens, we recommend getting up early before the release in case the release is canceled or, as we’ve seen in previous attempts, happen at the very beginning of the release window.

in a Post on X (Like SpaceX, the company is owned by Elon Musk.) The FAA said it “has determined that SpaceX meets all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements.” Although the first two Starship launches took off and achieved some mission objectives, they both ended in explosive fashion.

The first not only caused severe damage to the launch pad, but also “left a 385-acre debris field, threw concrete blocks 2,680 feet away from the launch pad, and started a 3.5-acre fire.” The second last spring Before the first attempt, the FAA provided SpaceX with a list of 63 corrective actions to address problems such as propellant leaks.

For its third launch, SpaceX said it was targeting a splashdown in the Indian Ocean, rather than targeting a location closer to Hawaii as in previous attempts, in an attempt to conduct space engine burns “while maximizing public safety.” kind of things.

The third flight test was designed to build on what we learned from previous flights while attempting to achieve some ambitious goals, including a successful two-stage ascent burn, opening and closing the starship’s payload doors, and a flight on board The shore stage of the stage featured a propellant transfer demonstration, the first re-ignition of the Raptor engines in space, and a controlled re-entry of Starship. It will also fly a new orbit, with the Starship targeting a splashdown in the Indian Ocean. This new flight path allows us to try new technologies, such as space engine combustion, while maximizing public safety.

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