FAA delays SpaceX Starship environmental review for 4th time

The FAA was originally expected to conduct the environmental review in December. File Photo courtesy of SpaceX | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c9bafe05bd73697f311f220627e043c3/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The FAA was originally expected to conduct the environmental review in December. File Photo courtesy of SpaceX | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that it has delayed its environmental review of SpaceX's Starship launch site in Texas for a fourth time.

The review was initially supposed to be completed Dec. 31, 2021. It was pushed back to Feb. 28, then March 28, then April 29, before the latest date -- May 31.


"The FAA is working toward issuing the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy on May 31, 2022," an emailed statement from the FAA said. "SpaceX made multiple changes to its application that require additional FAA analysis. The agency continues to review around 18,000 general public comments."

SpaceX has been testing its Starship rocket and the Starhopper prototype from the Boca Chica, Texas, site since 2019. The first four attempts to fly and land the Starship ended in fiery explosions, but the most recent, in May, flew to a height of 6 miles and successfully landed at the Starbase spaceport.

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The company has been unable to move on to its next round of orbital tests without the FAA review and approval.


SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk previously hoped to have an orbital launch by February 2022, but he later said only that it would happen sometime this year.

Starship is a reusable, super heavy-lift launch vehicle that SpaceX plans to use for launching satellites and space probes, serving tourists and traveling to the moon and Mars.

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NASA chose SpaceX to land astronauts on the moon using Starship as part of its Artemis missions. The company also sold a private flight around the moon on the rocket to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa in early 2023.

Out-of-this-world images from space

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a flyaround of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8. Photo courtesy of NASA

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