FAA Approves SpaceX Plan for Starship Launch

The launch could take place this week

SpaceX Starship
SpaceX's first orbital Starship SN20 is stacked atop its massive Super Heavy Booster 4 at the company's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on February 10, 2022.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The next big step in space exploration could be taking place as soon as Monday morning. That’s because the F.A.A. has approved SpaceX’s plans to launch an uncrewed flight of its Starship — a vessel that’s considered an essential part of the spaceflight company’s vision of traveling to Mars.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, SpaceX required approval from the F.A.A. in order to launch Starship from its Texas facility, Starbase. SpaceX will have a 150-minute window for the test flight, with the F.A.A. taking steps to make sure that the airspace around the facility is free from other aircraft.

Once launched, Starship will venture into orbit, where it will stay temporarily before returning to the planet somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The booster used to get it there, meanwhile, is intended to fall into the Gulf of Mexico once its work is done.

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What’s especially notable about Starship is its size. It’s designed to carry a crew of up to 100, and — as per the Los Angeles Times — it’s larger than the Saturn V rocket. As for whether or not the launch will take place on Monday, the New York Times reports that that depends on the weather. If conditions aren’t suitable for a space milestone on Monday, the company will target a date later in the week.

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