SpaceX Approved for Second Starship Flight Set for Nov. 17
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted SpaceX a modification to its existing vehicle operator license, paving the way for the second flight of its Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle from Cameron County, Texas. This decision, announced on November 15th, 2023, follows a comprehensive evaluation of SpaceX’s proposal and relevant environmental assessments.
Initially, SpaceX sought the modification for its launch operations at the Boca Chica Launch Site. The environmental implications of these operations were thoroughly analyzed in the 2022 Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) specific to the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program in Cameron County.
Recently, SpaceX provided the FAA with updated details concerning several operational changes, including the implementation of a deluge system, the addition of a forward heat shield interstage to the vehicle, and the expansion of the Area of Potential Effects for cultural resources.
In response, the FAA conducted a Written Re-Evaluation of the 2022 PEA, in line with its established environmental impact policies and procedures. This re-evaluation aimed to assess the significance of SpaceX’s newly provided information and its potential environmental impacts.
SpaceX is now targeting Friday, November 17, for the second flight of Starship.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2023
The FAA concluded that the proposed modifications to the Starship/Super Heavy operations are in alignment with the previously documented environmental assessments. The data from the 2022 PEA was found to be still substantially valid, with no significant environmental changes identified. Furthermore, the FAA determined that all conditions and requirements set forth in the initial approval have been, or will be, satisfactorily addressed in the current licensing action. As a result, the FAA confirmed that the preparation of a new or supplemental environmental document was not necessary to support the proposed modifications.
This approval marks a significant step for SpaceX in its ongoing Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program, reinforcing the company’s position at the forefront of space exploration and launch services. This is going to be fun to watch, folks!