SpaceX has delayed Starship's second orbital flight test by one day to Saturday, CEO Elon Musk confirmed on social media channel X.
"We need to replace a grid fin actuator, so launch is postponed to Saturday," Musk said.
We need to replace a grid fin actuator, so launch is postponed to Saturday— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 16, 2023
The second flight is scheduled for Saturday, November 18, at 0700 CT.
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The Federal Aviation Administration approved SpaceX to conduct the second launch of the world's most powerful rocket following a mishap in April.
"The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, and financial responsibility requirements," the agency wrote in an X post on Wednesday evening.
The FAA has given license authorization for the second launch of the @SpaceX Starship Super Heavy vehicle. The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements.https://t.co/gmSbhHGohv— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) November 15, 2023
Shortly after the FAA gave the greenlight, SpaceX posted on X that it was "targeting Friday, November 17 for Starship's second flight test."
Starship was first launched in April and lasted only a few minutes before exploding mid-air, severely damaging parts of the Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas. The FAA, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, launched a review of the second launch. Many believed the Biden administration weaponized federal agencies against SpaceX owner Elon Musk.
X user Sawyer Merritt said:
Two South Texas congressmen are calling on the US Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite its review of SpaceX's Starship project.
Congressman said: "The United States is currently in a space race with the rest of the world — and the Federal government should not hinder public companies as they develop and push United States to remain a leader in the space exploration realm," the congressmen wrote. "It is of the utmost importance that FWS makes their environmental review decision sooner rather than later."
NEWS: Two South Texas congressmen are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite its review of SpaceX’s Starship project.— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) November 13, 2023
Congressman said: “The United States is currently in a space race with the rest of the world — and the Federal government should not hinder… pic.twitter.com/DYCjrNruEE
SpaceX provided more insight into upgrades it has completed since the first launch:
Starship's first flight test provided numerous lessons learned that directly contributed to several upgrades to both the vehicle and ground infrastructure to improve the probability of success on future flights. The second flight test will debut a hot-stage separation system and a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, in addition to reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector, among many other enhancements.
This rapid iterative development approach has been the basis for all of SpaceX's major innovative advancements, including Falcon, Dragon, and Starlink. Recursive improvement is essential as we work to build a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and ultimately travel to Mars and beyond.
All eyes are on the second launch attempt tomorrow morning.