The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has closed its investigation into SpaceX and found that the recent explosion did not endanger the public during testing of the company’s starship rocket prototype.
The probe was in the February 2 altitude test flight of the starship SN9 prototype. During testing, the prototype successfully lifted into the air and maneuvered its “belly flop” flip to position it for an upright landing. But as soon as the prototype came to Earth, it hit the ground hard and exploded in a fireball.
It was the second explosive recent high-altitude starship test in December 2020, following the same results as the previous SN8 prototype tested.
The FAA spokesman said in an email statement, “The FAA has closed the February 10 investigation today.” The FAA provided oversight of the SN9 crash investigation conducted by SpaceX. SNA9 vehicles fail within the limits of FAA safety analysis Stayed.
“Its failed landing and explosion did not endanger the public or property. All debris contained within the designated hazard area. The FAA approved the final accident report, including possible causes and corrective actions.
With reports that the FAA was investigating SpaceX at the end of last month, CEO Elon Musk tweeted negatively about the agency, saying that its Space division “has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure.” There were clear differences between the FAA and the company on the scheduling of test flights.
It was unclear what the FAA did wrong with SpaceX’s launch license, nor why SN9 was investigating the test failure, but not the SN8 test failure, which was a similar phenomenon. But with the FAA investigation now discontinued, SpaceX will look forward to the high-altitude test flight of its next prototype SN10, which is expected to take place soon.