SpaceX could well fly its Starship again, and even return to orbit, if the FAA lets them.
The world of New Space is as fast as it is cruel, and while SpaceX has been the absolute master there for a few years, now the power and domination of Elon Musk’s company are being undermined. If technologically, the so-called “Boca Chica” company (launch site and work around the Starship) is always one step ahead of the competition, we must not rest on its laurels for all that.
Recently, the successful flight of Boeing and its Starliner capsule to reach the ISS was a small blow for the SpaceX teams. Although expected, this competition in the shuttles to the ISS may not please everyone, and Elon Musk, who recognized the serious financial concerns of the firm a few months ago, finds himself faced with a new challenge.
While the world of space exploration has its eyes riveted on Boca Chica and the famous Starship rocket ship, nothing has changed for seven months now. An eternity in today’s space world, more accustomed to flying every week than undergoing FAA environmental impact surveys.
Starship: Elon Musk’s crazy dream
But now, the Starship has been grounded by the American authorities, and the latter has still not reached orbit at the end of this month of May, something that Elon Musk had nevertheless promised for “the end of the world”. year at the latest. If the schedule is still playable, things are getting more complicated day by day, and Musk, who had also promised 12 Starship flights in 2022, risks being caught up in his ideal by the harsh law of reality.
But all hope is not lost. If there is one thing to remember from SpaceX, it is that this company is capable of anything. Then Starship’s next liftoff has never been closer. In recent images from the NASASpaceflight YouTube channel, a new prototype of SpaceX’s rocket ship leaves the huge construction hangars.
Named S24, this new prototype was seen this weekend, leaving the SpaceX factories to join the test base to pass some routine qualifications. Once this new step has been taken for the new prototype, SpaceX could take it to a new base, to test the resistance of the rocket there.
A political maneuver?
This release of the Starship prototype is also a very political maneuver. Indeed, to have the right to go into orbit, SpaceX must have the green light from the FAA, which is currently blocking any launch because of an ongoing environmental review around the site to measure the consequences of the takeoff of a rocket of this size in an area of Texas that was until recently a natural park, hosting numbers of endemic species.
The final part of the report is due by the FAA tomorrow, May 31. Delayed four times, the content of this text could change everything for SpaceX, so it is normal to see the largest private space company of our time putting pressure on the American body in charge of its future.