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Sat, Jan 01, 2022

SpaceX Starship Launch Now Slated for March

FAA Flooded With Public Comments Over Environmental Approval

SpaceX's ambitious Starship/Heavy Launch Vehicle has been pushed to mid-March, at the earliest, owing to a few issues that must be completed prior to live launch attempts.

 The FAA has stated it has yet to complete the necessary Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the project, the basis of long-term impact evaluation. The change in the agency timeline has come as little surprise after the November delay when the PEA was expected to be complete by December 31. "The new target date for issuing the Final PEA is February 28," reads an FAA tweet. 

Continuing their explanation, the FAA blames a few issues at hand with the PEA. The growing interest in SpaceX ventures has grossly increased the level of public interaction and commentary on the issue, bringing in nearly 20,000 comments that must be read and often responded to. That phenomenon is likely further boosted by fears of orbital-class rockets for citizenry in the greater region. The bigger, heavier, longer range launch systems bring a different, greater set of risks and safety requirements, which often seem disproportionately risky to the uninformed layman. The PEA has necessitated the standard suite of assessments from endangered species of the region to noise estimates for nearby settlements, and to date there have been no outstanding issues that are expected to delay the project any further. 

SpaceX is now faced with another 3 months of development on their systems, and from the appearance of their Super Heavy B4 assembly, there is plenty of work left to do. The company's many irons in the fire have a tendency to keep it busy regardless of the next impending product, but the wait may prove helpful to perform dress rehearsals for the brand new launch system. 

FMI: www.spacex.com

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