FAA Delays SpaceX Starship by Days and NASA Supports SLS Despite Years of Delays

The Space Launch System (SLS) will not have a first flight until 2022 or later after it had an unsuccessful full engine hold down test.

The SLS program was started in 2010 by President Obama and original had a Dec, 2016 date for an operational rocket. In 2011, NASA Director Bill Gerstenmaier said a test flight would occur at the end of 2017. Internal and external audits estimated a development cost of $18 billion through that mission, including Orion and ground systems infrastructure. SLS was after about $10 billion was spent on the Constellation program. Constellation and SLS involved the same companies trying to take Space Shuttle engines and reconfiguring them into an Apollo like rocket.

In 2018, VP Mike Pence talked about a 2020 first flight for SLS as the start of the Artemis human moon program. Over twice the $18 billion estimate has been spent on SLS.

New simulations and studies show that SLS cannot launch the Europa clipper mission without a costly redesign of the Europa Clipper (mission to Jupiter’s moon). The SLS would cause a lot of vibration to the Europa Clipper.

This has caused an open bid for a commercial rocket to do what the SLS cannot. There is currently only one rocket that can perform the Europa Clipper mission. The rocket is the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. A Delta IV would only be able to launch the mission using a slingshot around Venus.

Certain people in Congress want the United Launch Alliance Vulcan and the Blue Origin New Glenn rockets to be considered. Neither rocket has flown or been tested.

FAA Space Division Delays the Second SpaceX High Altitude Starship Test

The FAA has delayed the SpaceX SN9 Starship test flight. There is not a good reason for this delay and Elon Musk tweeted his frustration.

Innovation must overcome very bad rules and very bad decisions. Progress needs to reach a level where bad decision makers do not have control.

SOURCES- FAA, Planetary Society, SpaceX, Elon Musk Twitter
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

75 thoughts on “FAA Delays SpaceX Starship by Days and NASA Supports SLS Despite Years of Delays”

  1. Ok.

    So just 4 days after the intended SN9 flight the FAA grounded (ooooh! 4 days! The weather and other factors usually delay flight by much longer periods), SN9 indeed flew (awesome) but it ended in a RUD (1 – awesome explosion, 2 – too bad it did not land, 3 – well, it's more data. Success is built over failure)

    1 – this RUD was probably caused by some machiavelian Democrats scheme, because Biden hates Elon Musk and SpaceX

    2 – Biden is agile enough to put key people in power in the FAA with the mission to hamper SpaceX progress… because… REASONS!! I mean, Elon Musk was an ultra enthusiastic Trump supporter and a global warming denier and avid gasoline supporter… while Biden hated Commercial Crew program and loves Boeing…

    So obviously, it was a priority in the Biden agenda to hamper SpaceX progress.

    3 -… but for some reason, they do it for only 3 days. Weird. Oh, of course. They only grounded SN9 long enough for a secret SJW team to infiltrate the area and plant a device to cause the RUD!
    These democrats are ultra efficient in their evil ways!

    And nobody is so good at conspiracy as the communist democrats who love big corporations and Wall Street (like all communists), and nobody is so good at discovering Conspiracies as the Qanon Republicans.

    Really, cut off the retarded partisanship and conspiracy theories. Biden is not even that agile to start paying attention to SpaceX in such short amount of government time.

  2. Malaysia is NOT on the (short) list of countries where the government will not fabricate made up reasons to suppress and/or confiscate anything they want to.

  3. Dems want NASA to focus on climate science, not human space exploration. The establishment does not want human Mars colonies. Look at how they treat government competitors here on Earth.

  4. What I was pointing to in my admittedly cryptic comment is that because of the Shuttle losses (14 souls) NASA's risk aversion, likely high to begin with, has probably become hyper at a full organizational level, in a way that applies to everything. One measure of risk is probability times consequence. True, unmanned = lower consequence. However, I'm not sure where the breakpoint is that says "unmanned = lower consequence = acceptable probability of failure". NASA is also sensitive to public appearance, which is connected to funding. Mistakes also probably cost them huge amounts of PR repair time, internal reviews, etc.

  5. "It was unclear what part of the test flight violated the FAA license, and an FAA spokesman declined to specify in a statement."

  6. You mistake Elon Musk’s valiant efforts to not completely alienate the Trump idiocracy for support. SpaceX, Tesla and Musk’s goals align MUCH more with the Democrats than Trumpist Republicans.

  7. FAA is still very much the same people as under Trump. If it’s partisan, it’s entirely the corrupt Trumpists.

  8. The person in charge of FAA has new orders from a new boss.
    You actually think the written rules staying the same means they will be applied as written? You're really naive – and haven't followed the Supreme Court decisions in the last decades.

    Also, the Supreme Court will be packed. The new president already created a commission to take care of the preliminary aspects. There'll probably be 20-25 judges.

  9. You are very poorly informed.

    The FAA has not changed its launch regulations since the last election. The official in charge of approving SpaceX's permit has not changed. The only time the FAA has had political interference in its history is when Trump overruled the FAA's process and grounded the 737 Max.

    And, uh, the Supreme Court IS packed. Six of the nine justices are staunch conservatives. Six of the nine are Catholic. Court historians rate this court as the most conservative court in US history (and has been since Scalia's appointment). It's also unlikely that any conservative justices will retire in the next decade, and they're all healthy.

    It's amazing how little most of the posters I see on here seem to know about the United States.

  10. News flash! Other countries are far more strict about allowing people to launch their own rockets than the United States. To put it more simply, they mostly don't allow it.

    You might do some research on Rocket Lab.

  11. <quote>The FAA has delayed the SpaceX SN9 Starship test flight. There is not a good reason for this delay and Elon Musk tweeted his frustration.</quote>

    I don't know anyone who knows what the FAA's reason for delaying the test is. I'm pretty sure Brian doesn't know, either. I do know that the official in charge of issuing the flight permit is the same guy they've been dealing with for the past couple of years.

    Given that SpaceX has done this a time or two before, I don't understand why they didn't get the permit before they pressed on Thursday and Friday, although it looks as if they were trying to increase public pressure on the FAA. The tweets don't paint a different picture.

    The American FAA has always been one of the least political, most implacable organizations in the world. They're strict, but the rules are clear and, in my own experience, the officials are easy to work with.

    Absent better evidence, I'd say the fault lies with SpaceX, tweets notwithstanding.

  12. Yes, I like to remember that people are crazy, so as not to expect perfection. But the crazy can be towards doing something useful, too. I regard both Musk and Bezos as driven by Space Fever, but so am I, and cannot complain.

  13. NZ isn't the place.

    Musk has his plan, he knows where he wants to be based (in both senses of the word) and it is the Independent Duchy of Mars.

  14. Attacks on Musk on the grounds that he is a white man with genetic guilt genes from South African ancestors have been floating around the internet for a while now.

  15. I'm old enough to remember when the Obama admin tasked NASA with outreach to Muslims. It isn't about supremacy nonsense so much as it is about using NASA as a cudgel to stop colonization of space.

    See we have had a taste of what is possible when the Bureaucrats aren't in control. Suddenly we have a change of administration and suddenly the Bureaucrats are back in control slowing everything down to a snail's pace.

    The genie of rapid development and fully reusable rockets IS NOT going back in the bottle.

  16. That's the whole point here: what concerns? What priorities? The issue is that there doesn't appear to be any.
    If you can actually point to such concerns then go head.

  17. Many start that way of course, but there are real government programs that began to perform real tasks and deal with real problems.

    The Iron Law of Bureaucracy will almost always get them in the end, unless said real problem keeps reminding everyone what the entire point is.

    eg. If enemy bombers are actually carpet bombing your cities on a weekly basis, then the airforce will be forced to actually be devoted to air warfare. Only after years of peace will they turn into a jobs program for aircraft contractors run by people who enjoy playing with all the cool toys.

    On the other hand, some programs start that way.

  18. I believe biden as VP was in charge when Commercial Cargo/Crew was started, that is, Musk. Biden is pushing battery cars, Musk again. Who needs friends with enemies like that?

  19. I do believe Musk has to do some serious looking into Malaysia or some other company to launch his rockets from. Will he be able to launch them from his newly acquired abandoned Oil Platforms. In the meantime we had best get used to having China establish the 1st base on the moon with the ability to launch rods from God or rocks from the moon to places on earth who get out of line.

  20. Still have a contract for Crew Dragon for 2-6 launches. I wonder if they might not be able to use their position to press for better returns on the next contract.
    Get Starlink up in operation and there would be little leverage to apply against SpaceX. Regulators may try to go after Tesla in retaliation but, as the Pelosi clan is invested, I doubt that would happen.
    What I do believe is that for Mr. Musk, this is about more than making money. He has a dream of starting a Mars commercial colony, and if US politicians stand in the way of that, he is very liable to look elsewhere to build a commercial launch business.
    Not sure how much of his IP they would be able to block from taking with him, but I don't think it would be a show-stopper.
    Musk is not a US citizen.
    This much capital investment would buy much cooperation in a foreign economy.
    Many places would have better average weather conditions, and proximity to equator.
    What is the business atmosphere in Brazil? Weren't they recently seeking investors for a space initiative?

  21. The US government does everything it can to slow down progress in space, to put off the day we discover their UFO base on Titan.

  22. If only they were just creeping it wouldn't be so bad. They've stopped creeping and are sprinting towards the finish line.

  23. I think the violations are (and they are serious): "not being in good standing with the ruling party" and "dared to speak with Trump".

  24. "The simplest solution is for Musk to bend the knee…"

    The best solution is for Americans to stand up and fight this creeping authoritarianism.

  25. I like the idea. Or maybe Musk could call the Starship an experimental unmanned drone, no reason to be regulated as a "rocket" until it's unavoidable.

  26. this is about the dumbest take ive read in a while, zero discussion of the substance of what Musk is saying and just an ad hominem attack, the exact attitude of almost anyone who works for government too unfortunately

  27. That is a very superficial view of thing.It's not want Musk wants. It's supporting innovation as opposed to the government supporting wasteful projects and hurting innovation.

  28. US citizen, lawful permanent resident, and illegal don't exhaust the possibilities. But, the lawsuit IS demanding he violate ITAR. Should have been almost instantaneously dismissed on that basis.

    I would guess the complaint originated with someone in the illegal DACA program and they're trying to establish that ITAR doesn't apply to 'Dreamers', though facially it certainly does.

    Looking at the data they're demanding, maybe Musk's employees are being targeted for the next socially engineered data breach, and SpaceX has too good of IT security, so the want the data exposed on insecure government servers.

  29. China is faster than NASA, no doubt, but probably not faster than SpaceX. The goal here will be to slow Musk down to a pace China can match, while pressuring him to open SpaceX to Chinese industrial espionage/sabotage.

    Watch for NASA to start requiring US launch companies to start sharing proprietary tech, so China can grab it.

  30. I really doubt Musk can outbid China for Biden's loyalty, and China doesn't want to compete with Starship or have uncensored satellite internet overhead.

    It's going to be a tough 2-4 years for Musk. It's only a question of how openly Biden can afford to do Xi's bidding.

    What he might do is move his launches to those platforms he bought, to reduce the need for special airspace closures.

  31. It is curoius that power addiction is at least 7 million years old, yet the "races" in our inbred African population only started a few 10s of thousands ago, and are epigenetic sex related settings rather than actual evolution, mostly. Power addicts pick up on any difference to tag their victims, as any non white dominated socialist society will demonstrate. Quit making power addict babies!

  32. I remember reading a month ago or so that they are ready to test second Starship(SN9), month passed and still no test. With this rate of 'speed', progress I wouldn't be surprised if China will catch up and have something similar to Starship at the end of this year or next year. They're just waiting for more Starship tests to gain confidence that such tech works.
    We have this hype about SpaceX amazing speed, but for me it's overhyped, I do not see it. I hope they will be able to speed things up i near future.

  33. “Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at
    nothing to defeat conservative Republicans. They are coming after me
    because I’m a threat to their goal of Socialism." libertarians love it when socialism is attacked. Altho it takes a sweet flavor when those doing the attacking are themselves socialist, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene here. I forget if Q people are naught sees, national socialists.

  34. Oh well. This happens in every country. Changing red tape takes time and up until now there wasn't any need or commercially driven demand for it. It will eventually happen though, Elon is putting on a good show with his production cadence.

  35. "SpaceX made inquiries about his citizenship status and ultimately failed to hire him for the position because he is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident."
    Wait, last time I checked it was illegal to hire illegals. Employers can get in trouble for that, even get fined or go to jail. I know of people who could not be hired because they couldn't produce the required paperwork, even when they had been in the country for years. What am I missing?

  36. I suspect SpaceX can't legally move their rocket engine fabrication to another country, nor export them there without a license.

    So changing countries isn't really a solution unless Musk wants to start over from scratch, and even then the US could pressure his new home to slow him down.

    Even if he found a country the US couldn't influence, he'd have to worry about becoming the next Gerald Vincent Bull.

    The simplest solution is for Musk to bend the knee to Biden – get some smiling photos taken with VP Harris, spout a little public praise for the "new and more diligent FAA", etc. Similar to what he's had to do with NASA…

  37. I think it is time for Musk to move SpaceX somewhere that welcomes space flight development. New Zealand, maybe? Any better suggestions? A big problem would be finding a place with a large pool of the people with the talents he needs.

  38. The world doesn't revolve around what Musk wants and when he wants it.
    The petulant often fail to learn other people often have other priorities and concerns.

  39. How long before American rockets are forbidden because space launches are colonialist, and they promote white male supremacism by the fact of SpaceX being owned by a cis white male.

    Besides they scare some beach birds and crabs, poor babies.

    Chinese and Russian rockets on the other hand, are fine.

  40. Not from the builders, I expect. Always trying to protect people from themselves, even when they're glad to take the risk.

  41. Musk has gone from having a friend in the White House, to having an enemy there. Things are going to get ugly.

  42. "Progress needs to reach a level where bad decision makers do not have control." Better yet, have as little control as possible, so the correct decision will always be possible, not suppressed, as SLS refueling was.

  43. I wonder if Elon's grumbles about California, defiance of local officials in California, and fussing about masks is behind this. Probably not. Probably just ordinary bureaucracy stuff. My guess is that some bureaucrat did not want their day off messed with or something…so Elon must throw a million dollars down the drain.

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