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      What’s really going on with Elon Musk, the FAA, and Starship?

      Eric Berger · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 29 January, 2021 - 21:39

    Starship prototype SN9 has not launched yet.

    Enlarge / Starship prototype SN9 has not launched yet. (credit: SpaceX)

    There were moments of high drama on Thursday afternoon, and again Friday morning, in South Texas. For two days in a row, SpaceX evacuated the handful of residents remaining in Boca Chica Village. Sheriff's deputies cleared beaches and closed roads. And at the company's launch site, a Starship rocket prototype underwent preparations for launch.

    The vehicle was ready, with ground equipment venting away. The winds were light. And then—nothing. As the hours ticked by, the rocket remained on the ground. Unfortunately for SpaceX, the Federal Aviation Administration had not given its final approval to launch. It all made for quite a South Texas Showdown.

    SpaceX, which officially said it was targeting a launch attempt on Thursday, has not publicly commented on what happened. Nor has the FAA provided specifics on what transpired, other than offering a generic statement : “We will continue working with SpaceX to resolve outstanding safety issues before we approve the next test flight.”

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