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Elon Musk’s SpaceX gets green light from FAA to launch its Starship SN9 prototype as early as TODAY

The Federal Aviation Administration has given SpaceX the green light to launch its Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) prototype for its first test flight – and the world could see it take off today.

SN9 was set to soar last week, but the FAA grounded the massive rocket due to a non-compliance by SpaceX regarding its previous prototype, SN8.

The Elon Musk-owned firm had requested a waiver from the division to ‘exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations’ and even though it was denied, SpaceX still went ahead with the flight test.

As a result of this non-compliance, according to the FAA, all testing at the Boca Chica, Texas facility was suspended until SpaceX conducted an investigation into the exploding SN8.

SpaceX has updated its website to say the flight test could take place ‘as early as February,’ which will send the SN9 on the same path of its predecessor that performed an aerodynamic descent before crashing and exploding on the launch pad.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given SpaceX the green light to launch its Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) (right) prototype for its first test flight – and the world could see it take off today. The latest prototype, SN10, is also standing on a separate launch pad

As of right now, SN9 is waiting patiently on the launch pad with the latest prototype, SN10, standing at nearby pad that could also take its first flight later this month.

SN9’s mission is set to see it soar six miles into the sky and then perform a ‘belly flop’ manuever to give off energy for its decent through the atmosphere.

And moments before reaching the ground, the massive rocket will attempt a twist to reorient itself so it can land in the position it took off.

SpaceX is set to stream the highly anticipated event on its website, but has not given a time for when it will start.

The Elon Musk-owned firm had requested a waiver from the division to ‘exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations’ and even though it was denied, SpaceX still went ahead with the flight test

The Elon Musk-owned firm had requested a waiver from the division to ‘exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations’ and even though it was denied, SpaceX still went ahead with the flight test

The reasoning behind the FAA’s involvement was not yet clear, by many had speculated the issue stemmed from the SN8 launch in December (pictured)

The reasoning behind the FAA’s involvement was not yet clear, by many had speculated the issue stemmed from the SN8 launch in December (pictured)

The FAA debacle started Thursday after the SpaceX crew made preparations for the hop and residents living around the Boca Chica facility had evacuated, which is required during high altitude tests.

However, moments later the mission was canceled – and the same events occurred the following day. 

Musk did not take the delays lightly and ran to Twitter to bash the FAA.

‘Unlike its aircraft division, which is fine, the FAA space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure,’ Musk wrote.

‘Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities. Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars.’

SpaceX has updated its website to say the flight test could take place ‘as early as February,’ which will send the SN9 on the same path of its predecessor that performed an aerodynamic descent before crashing and exploding on the launch pad

SpaceX has updated its website to say the flight test could take place ‘as early as February,’ which will send the SN9 on the same path of its predecessor that performed an aerodynamic descent before crashing and exploding on the launch pad

The FAA has stayed quiet while Musk airs his frustrations online, but the division told DailyMail.com: ‘We will continue working with SpaceX to resolve outstanding safety issues before we approve the next test flight.’

‘While we recognize the importance of moving quickly to foster growth and innovation in commercial space, the FAA will not compromise its responsibility to protect public safety.’

‘We will approve the modification only after we are satisfied that SpaceX has taken the necessary steps to comply with regulatory requirements. ‘

The reasoning behind the FAA’s involvement was not yet clear, by many had speculated the issue stemmed from the SN8 launch in December.

The giant rocket took off from the firm’s Boca Chica, Texas testing facility at 5:45pm ET on December 9, igniting its Raptor engines and soaring into the sky to successfully hit its goal of reaching an elevation of 7.8 miles (41,000 feet).

The prototype spacecraft’s ascent lasted for around six minutes before the engines shut down and SN8 began its journey back down to the launch pad.

When SN8 touched down on the launch pad, it ignited in flames — and, once the fire and smoke had cleared, all that was left was a pile of debris topped by what remained of the craft’s nose cone.

And according to the FAA, that mission was never meant to happen.


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