Around six months after the largest rocket system ever built in space history exploded during a test launch, the US aviation regulator FAA has completed an investigation into the incident - and asked SpaceX to take improvements to the "Starship". "The final report cites numerous reasons for the accident on April 20, 2023 and 63 corrections that SpaceX must make to prevent the accident from happening again," the FAA said in a statement Friday.
Among other things, changes would have to be made to the rocket system and the launch pad, as well as additional analyzes and tests, it said. No further details were initially given. There should be no new tests of the “Starship” until all improvement measures affecting public safety have been taken and an adapted license has been issued. SpaceX said several improvement measures have already been carried out.
The "Starship" set off for an unmanned test launch for the first time in mid-April - and exploded and shattered four minutes later. Billionaire Elon Musk, whose space company SpaceX developed and built the “Starship” rocket system, did not see this as a setback, but as an “exciting test launch.” Musk had always emphasized that the next test start should follow as soon as possible.
The "Starship" - consisting of the approximately 70 meter long "Super Heavy" booster and the approximately 50 meter long upper stage, also called "Starship" - is intended to enable manned missions to the Moon and Mars. The system is designed so that the spacecraft and rocket can be reused after returning to Earth. The system, which is around 120 meters long in total, will be able to transport well over 100 tons of cargo in the future. NASA wants to take astronauts to the moon with the “Starship”. SpaceX hopes to one day get to Mars.