SpaceX's Starship on the roster for Texas takeoff
FAA grants license to fly*, though not fry local wildlife
Updated The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has listed SpaceX on its air traffic control advisory for an upcoming attempt to launch the monster Starship / Super Heavy combo from the company's Boca Chica facility.
Getting to this point has taken some time, at least in terms of the rapid iterative approach adopted by the company for its other vehicles. Still, SpaceX seems set for another attempt seven months after April's effort.
Residing at the bottom of an FAA advisory are three possible dates for flight two of the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy. The primary date is November 17, with backup dates on November 18 and 19.
The FAA grounded SpaceX's Starship after the rocket demolished a chunk of its launchpad and scattered debris over the surrounding area. The launch was aborted a few minutes into flight, although there was a worrying delay between the red button being pushed and the tumbling rocket detonating.
Musk was bullish about Starship being ready to launch again within a couple of months, however, the FAA needed time to investigate what went wrong and give SpaceX guidance on what to do before another flight could be attempted.
The FAA demanded 63 corrective actions before allowing Musk's rocketeers to take another run at launching Starship. Even after completing the safety review for the Starship-Super Heavy license evaluation, the agency kept the monster rocket firmly on the ground while the environmental portion of the license evaluation was completed.
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The FAA advisory also teases the possibility of three SpaceX launches in a single day - a pair of Falcon 9s carrying Starlink satellites from Florida and California respectively and the launch of the Starship-Super Heavy from Texas. All three launches have identical backup dates.
As with the first test flight, SpaceX does not plan to recover the Super Heavy or Starship portions of the launch system for reuse, although the company will be fervently hoping that the vehicle will at least make it as far as staging this time, and not tear up large chunks of its launch infrastructure.
If all goes well, staging should occur at the 2-minute 41-second mark, with the booster splashing down into the Gulf of Mexico at around 6 minutes 30 seconds after launch. Starship will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere 1 hour 17 minutes and 21 seconds after launch before enjoying what SpaceX has called "An exciting landing!" in the Pacific just under 13 minutes later. ®
Updated to add on November 16:
* The Reg has confirmed FAA licenses have been granted for the launch. The agency told us it had "given license authorization for the second launch of the SpaceX Starship Super Heavy vehicle. The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements."