Late on Monday night, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a license for SpaceX to conduct its Starship SN9 flight test from its facility at Boca Chica, Texas. That flight is scheduled to occur later today.
FAA also issued a statement on why the agency did not issue the license in time for SpaceX to conduct the flight test last week.
Prior to SN8 test launch in December, SpaceX sought a waiver to exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations. After the FAA denied the request, SpaceX proceeded with the flight. As a result of this non-compliance, FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation of the incident. All testing that could affect public safety at Boca Chica launch site was suspended until the investigation was completed and FAA approved company’s corrective actions to protect public safety. The corrective actions arising from the SN8 incident are incorporated into the SN9 launch license.
If you recall, the SN8 flight ended in a massive fireball when the vehicle attempted to land. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Neither the FAA nor SpaceX has provided any additional details on what the maximum public risk is for these flights.