SpaceX plans new mega rocket launch after first attempt ended in explosion

15 November 2023, 22:44

SpaceX’s Starship launched from Texas on April 20
SpaceX Starship Launch. Picture: PA

Elon Musk’s rocket company said it was targeting Friday morning.

SpaceX is aiming for another test flight of its mega rocket on Friday after getting final approval from federal regulators in the US.

The first launch of Starship ended in an explosion minutes after lifting off from south Texas in April.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its licence on Wednesday, noting that SpaceX has met safety, environmental and other requirements to launch again.

Elon Musk’s rocket company said it was targeting Friday morning.

The SpaceX Starship rocket
SpaceX is aiming for another test flight of its mega rocket, Starship, on Friday (Eric Gay/AP)

After the self-destruct system blew up the rocket over the Gulf of Mexico, SpaceX made dozens of improvements to the nearly 400-foot rocket and to the launch pad, which ended up with a large crater beneath it.

SpaceX has a three billion dollar Nasa contract to land astronauts on the lunar surface as early as 2025, using the spacecraft.

A month ago, the FAA completed its safety review of the upcoming Starship launch. It needed more time to wrap up its environmental review.

No one was injured in the first attempt, but the pad was heavily damaged as the rocket’s 33 main engines ignited at lift-off.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service later reported that concrete chunks, steel sheets and other objects were hurled thousands of feet from the pad. It also said a plume of pulverised concrete sent material several miles away.

Wildlife and environmental groups sued the FAA over what they considered to be the FAA’s failure to fully consider the environmental impacts of the Starship programme near Boca Chica Beach.

Plans call for the test flight to last one-and-a-half hours and fall short of a full orbit of Earth.

The spacecraft would go eastwards, passing over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans before ditching near Hawaii. Nothing of value will be on board.

By Press Association

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