It is possible that SpaceX may conduct a test launch of a fully constructed Starship, which is a rocket that is over 30 stories tall, into Earth’s orbit as soon as this month.
The choice of launch location is between the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the company’s development facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
It will be the biggest rocket ever flown, and officials at both launch sites are concerned that a test failure — something SpaceX is not accustomed to — might inflict catastrophic damage to adjacent structures and natural ecosystems.
Since May 2021, no Starship prototype has flown, and each of its outings has only gotten as high as 6 miles (10 kilometers).
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted a thorough environmental analysis as a result of SpaceX’s ambition to launch an orbital mission with Starship, and there are still a few issues to be resolved, according to Reuters.
The Starship operations at Starbase, a SpaceX facility close to the city of Brownsville in south Texas, were the subject of that FAA investigation, known as a programmatic environmental assessment.
The study was completed by the FAA in June after a number of delays that began in late 2021 as a result of the need to confer with other agencies and address public complaints.
This summer, the FAA said that SpaceX must implement 75 measures to lessen its negative effects on the environment in the region. In order to launch from either location, SpaceX needs a launch license from the FAA.
Since late 2019, SpaceX has been conducting tests at Boca Chica on 12 different prototypes of the top stage of Starship. Eight of them were destroyed by explosions, either in the air or on the launch pad.
The most significant disaster, which occurred during the landing of the 12th Starship prototype test in March 2021, blasted debris as far as five kilometers from the launch site.
Three months were needed for SpaceX to clean up. Nobody was hurt, and no property was damaged, according to reports.