FAA to oversee investigation on SpaceX test launch

7 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, February 02 2021 Feb 2, 2021 February 02, 2021 12:24 PM February 02, 2021 in News - Local

After being pushed back several days, SpaceX launched its SN9 Starship prototype Tuesday afternoon at about 2:25 p.m.

The launch to a target of 10 kilometers ended in a fiery crash.

Director of UTRGV’s Stargate Program Professor Teviet Creighton said the crash is normal.

“It’s always going to be a learning curve when you’re developing new technology,” Creighton said. “The rocket seemed to work fine. The maneuvering seemed to work fine. They apparently had some issues with sticking the landing, but that’s normal when you’re developing new technology.”

The Federal Aviation Administration announced an investigation Tuesday evening, saying it wants to identify the root cause of the crash.

The agency also explained the reason for delays last week, saying SpaceX in December requested to exceed what’s called the “maximum safety risk” for the SN8 launch and was denied, but then proceeded with the launch without showing danger from the blast overpressure was within regulations.

The FAA also required SpaceX to investigate the December launch, including the leadership and the safety culture at the company. 

SpaceX assures launches are done safely as it moves ahead with its prototype launch schedule.

Now, SN10 is already on the pad. It’s unclear when SpaceX expects to launch it.

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