FAA Completes SpaceX Investigation, Launch May Happen Monday


After a two-week investigation, the FAA has apparently decided that all is well with the SpaceX Starship interplanetary rocket test program even though its last two rockets blew to smithereens while attempting to land at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, test facility. “The SN9 vehicle failed within the bounds of the FAA safety analysis,” the FAA said in a statement to CNN. “Its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property.” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded by breaking his self-imposed exile from Twitter and tweeting there’s a “good chance of flying this week!” The launch of SN10 and the next attempt to land the silo-like rocket could happen as early as Monday.

The FAA delayed the SN9 launch because of a paperwork issue with the previous launch. That annoyed Musk, who criticized the FAA’s oversight. After SN9 blew up, the agency said it would oversee SpaceX’s investigation and get to the “root cause” of the spectacular failures. The SN9 crash happened after one of the two rockets needed to land the spacecraft failed to ignite. Musk and his engineers had already said they should have lit all three rockets, confirmed two burning, and shut down the third during the descent.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. We can all sleep well tonight, now that the FAA has “blessed” the findings of the SN9 incident. The development of any new rocket is going to have teething pains. The Atlas missile, that was the backbone of the Mercury space flight program, was plagued by early failures. In fact, even though the Mercury program had a perfect launch record, the satellite business for the Atlas carried about a 10% failure rate through the Atlas I & II versions.

  2. It’s good there is oversight. Elon Musk (I can’t speak for Space-X per se) has a long history of exaggeration, manipulation and arrogance and can’t be trusted. I’m glad there is some supervision now.

    • OK? And who do you think is supervising whom William? Which of the two parties, the FAA or Elon knows the least about SN9? It’s not Elon.

  3. Its not knowledge that I’m referring to its character. Not that I assign such terms to the FAA but Elon Musk lacks it and can’t be trusted.

    Look at what he has done with Tesla, The Boring Company and his Powerwall.

    He has a history of lies mistruths and disappointed customers. A list of broken promises and missed deadlines.