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HomeSCIENCEHype grows for SpaceX's Starship orbital flight test, but hurdles remain -Se

Hype grows for SpaceX’s Starship orbital flight test, but hurdles remain -Se

Image credit: SpaceX

More hype is building for the first orbital flight test of SpaceX’s super-heavy launch system Starship. The hype began to reach its climax this week as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released An air traffic advisory Marking April 10 as the initial launch date. Adding gasoline to the fire, earlier today SpaceX CEO Elon Musk liked it A tweet Which simply reads “April 10” with a GIF of a rocket launch.

Although April 10 is going to be the closest we’ve gotten to an even semi-solid launch date, the FAA has yet to issue SpaceX the all-important launch license. This final regulatory green-light is a non-negotiable step before companies can conduct testing. So far, there has been no indication that that license is forthcoming.

Also, as Ars Technica Science Editor Eric Berger to identify On Twitter, there is a very real possibility of filing a civil suit on environmental issues soon after the launch license is issued. In that case, a judge would have the power to issue a temporary injunction blocking the flight test until that civil case is resolved.

This is not the first time SpaceX and environmentalists have clashed over the company’s operations at Starbase, the starship development facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The immediate vicinity of the starbase is a wildlife refuge and a state park, both of which ecologists say are fragile ecosystems that could be existentially threatened by ongoing orbital operations. The FAA released its final environmental assessment of the Starbase and Starship flight programs last summer, finding that SpaceX’s plans would not have a significant impact on the environment and that the agency would need to complete a number of mitigation measures before flight testing could begin.

The starship launch system consists of a super heavy booster and an upper stage also known as the starship. The rocket has become critical to the future of the space economy, with multiple startups banking on their business plans coming online, as well as at NASA, which has made it the centerpiece of the Artemis program to return humans to the moon — not to mention the centrality of Musk’s own vision for expanding humanity to Mars.



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