New SpaceX Booster, Starship and FAA Approval Tracking to Possible July Orbital Launch

SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell says the orbital launch of Super Heavy Starship should be June or July from Boca Chica, Texas, pending FAA approvals. Shotwell said SpaceX views human #Mars exploration and nuclear propulsion systems as “inevitable”.

The FAA has revealed that SpaceX has completed four out of five processes for the Environmental Assessment. However, even with all Environmental Assessments complete this will not guarantee that the FAA will issue a launch license. SpaceX’s application must also meet FAA safety, risk, and financial responsibility requirements.

Once Section 4(f) is behind them, the FAA and SpaceX and the Final PEA completion needs the approval of all relevant paperwork. The FAA’s targeted completion date, currently May 31st, 2022, may be achievable.

In early April, an apparent operator error significantly damaged a large part installed inside the booster. After two and a half weeks of repairs, Booster 7 returned to the launch site on May 6th and completed another ‘cryoproof’ test.

Starship 24 is being completed with many design changes.