The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed 63 measures on SpaceX that the company must implement before another Starship launch can take place. During the first launch, in April this year, something went wrong with the launch pad and the self-destruct mechanism.
The FAA investigated SpaceX and the Starship launches after that partially failed launch. The results of this research are only partially published; the FAA says there were “several root causes” for the failure of the first launch. For example, something went wrong during the launch from the launch pad, whereby the great force of the Super Heavy booster caused a fire around the launch pad and debris from the launch pad was thrown hundreds of meters. In addition, there was a delay between the time the self-destruct command was issued and the time the Starship actually exploded.
Mandatory measures include redesigning hardware to prevent leaks and fires and redesigning the launch pad to make it more robust. SpaceX must also ‘additionally assess’ the design process and additionally analyze and test critical safety systems. Only if SpaceX applies these measures would the company be able to obtain a new license for a subsequent launch. Until then, SpaceX is not allowed to carry out Starship launches.
In a comment indicates SpaceX have already taken certain measures to combat the aforementioned problems in subsequent launches. It is not clear whether SpaceX has addressed all of the FAA’s concerns. It is also not clear when SpaceX expects to make another launch attempt. Starship is SpaceX’s next generation rocket, which should be fully reusable.
Testing development flight hardware in a flight environment is what enables our teams to quickly learn and execute design changes and hardware upgrades to improve the probability of success in the future. We learned a tremendous amount about the vehicle and ground systems during… pic.twitter.com/kzMEBHwWyz