Paving the way for SN10
The FAA seems satisfied with its investigations into Elon Musk’s last two SpaceX Starship tests, each of which ended in an explosive crash, and the conclusion of those investigations should clear the way for a new SN10 flight in the very near future. In fact, Musk just tweeted there’s a “good chance of flying this week!”
Late last month, we broke the news that SpaceX had violated its launch licensewith its Starship SN8 launch in December, but an FAA spokesperson now says that matter has already been settled, according to CNN’s Jackie Wattles.
As for the SN9, which similarly exploded during a landing attempt on February 2nd, the FAA says it “failed within the bounds of the FAA safety analysis” and “its unsuccessful landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property.”
Update on SpaceX's Starship program from the FAA just in: "The FAA closed the investigation of the Feb. 2 SpaceX Starship SN9 prototype mishap today, clearing the way for the SN10 test flight pending FAA approval of license updates." (1/4)
— Jackie Wattles (@jackiewattles) February 19, 2021
It’s not yet clear when the Starship SN10 might launch, but Boca Chica is already closing the local highway and beach in preparation for “non-flight testing activities” on Monday, which some are interpreting to mean a static fire test.
Primary Date: Closure Scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. https://t.co/7Er5HdRaH6
— Boca Chica Road Closures (@BocaRoad) February 18, 2021
NASASpaceflight journalist BocaChicaGalhas been following progress at the launch site closely, and seems like a stellar follow if you’d like to keep tabs as well. Elon Musk tweeted earlier that he thinks the SN10 has a 60 percent chance of actually landing. Better than a coin flip, I suppose?
Update, 4:35PM ET: Added Musk’s comment that SN10 might launch this week.