FAA Delays SpaceX’s Starship Environmental Decision Again, Now to June 13

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has once again held off on finishing its final assessment of a new SpaceX spacecraft, after several delays have already taken place for the event this year.

The FAA, delayed the final assessment of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket to at least June 13, according to Reuters.

SpaceX’s Elon Musk stated that the company has a backup plan for “worst-case” scenarios, if the FAA required a more full environmental impact statement or if legal concerns and delays continue much longer.

The launch, initially set to take place at its Boca Chica, Texas site, could see the entire project shift to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where SpaceX already has environmental approval.

In a statement last month, the FAA delayed Starship’s orbital flight and final assessment to May 31, saying the agency is “working toward issuing the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment,” following earlier delays.

On Tuesday, the FAA unveiled a list of 17,000 concerns around Starship’s flight, including things like migratory bird patterns, endangered species and a wildlife refuge nearby that could be affected.

The city of Port Isabel, Texas, near Boca Chica, raised “serious concerns” warning of the “potential impact of noise, vibration and overpressure” in a November letter, requesting limited launches at the site from the FAA.

Musk and SpaceX are still shooting to launch the Starship orbital, reusable spacecraft in 2023 for what it considers the world’s first private lunar mission.