Elon Musk’s SpaceX received a Starship Launch License from the Federal Aviation Administration.
SpaceX hopes to launch Starship on Monday, from its private facility along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
Starship, designed to transport cargo and people beyond Earth, is crucial to NASA's plans to return astronauts back to the Moon.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Starship Launch License to
SpaceX has completed the final regulatory requirement that will allow the company to launch its rocket into orbit for the very first time.
After a thorough license evaluation, the FAA found that SpaceX had met all requirements for safety, environment, policy, payload integration, financial responsibility, and airspace integration. FAA stated in a press release that the license was valid for five-years.
SpaceX is now able to launch Starship from its Texas private facility along the Gulf Coast as early as Monday.
SpaceX plans to launch the first flight test as early as Monday, April 17, of a Starship rocket and Super Heavy rocket fully integrated from Starbase Texas. SpaceX announced that the 150-minute testing window would open at 7 a.m. CT.
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In preparation for launch, the company recently stacked Starship prototyp 24 on Super Heavy boost prototype 7. Together, they are nearly 400 feet tall.
SpaceX completed a test in February
The Super Heavy booster with 33 Raptor engines on its base is one of the last technical steps before the launch.
SpaceX has been preparing for the first orbital test of its Starship launch for many years, and the company's leadership has stressed the experimental nature. SpaceX had originally hoped to launch the Starship orbital rocket as early as Summer 2021. However, delays and regulatory approvals have caused this timeline to be pushed back.
According to 2021 filings, the rocket will launch from SpaceX's facility in Brownsville, Texas before heading east along the Gulf of Mexico.
Flight plan revealed
The mission's ultimate goal is to reach space, and the rocket will travel around the Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of Kauai and Hawaii.
Starship was designed to transport cargo and people beyond Earth. It is crucial to NASA's plans to return astronauts back to the Moon. SpaceX was awarded a contract worth nearly $3 billion by NASA in 2021 for the use of Starship as crewed lunar landers.