It turns out that SpaceX could not obtain the required FAA regulatory approval for the possible 6th November launch we reported at the start of November.
SpaceX later confirmed via an official X post (tweet) that it is preparing for a launch around mid-November — still pending regulatory approval.
However, SpaceX sounds more confident this time for next week’s 2nd Starship orbital flight attempt actually taking place at Starbase.
Cameron County has already issued road and beach closure notices for mid-November dates. But these notices are for non-flight testing.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. ordered Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach closures for SpaceX’s non-flight activities scheduled to take place on 13th November. If SpaceX is not able to perform these tests on 13th November, the company has 14th and 15th as alternative windows for the purpose.
If SpaceX gets the chance to perform the non-flight preliminary testing of the Starship before or on the 15th, we can expect the flight test to happen in the next few days.
SpaceX is constantly working to achieve the targeted timeline, the activities at Starbase suggest. Yesterday, SpaceX moved the Flight Termination System (FTS) explosives aboard Starship 25. Installing FTS explosives is one of the last activities a space company performs to finalize a spaceship for flight — Starship isn’t any different in this regard either.
Flight Termination System (FTS) is a crucial component of a spaceship to be used in case of emergency when the ship needs to self-destruct in the atmosphere and prevent it from a crash landing.
In the 1st orbital flight test of the Starship earlier this year, SpaceX used the FTS to blow up Starship in mid-air as it lost its balance and was unable to fly any further. When SpaceX triggered the FTS on the 1st Starship launch, the system took much longer than expected to explode. This situation created panic at SpaceX and Elon Musk gave an explanation of the system’s failure and its repercussions during a Twitter Space conversation later on.
In addition to the FTS explosives installation, SpaceX also completed the thermal protection system (TPS) heat shield tiles installation on Starship 25 earlier this week. This was also a major milestone that SpaceX completed to make Starship flight-ready (watch in video below).
Other Starbase updates include Starfactory expansion, further development of Ship 28, and construction of the suborbital site’s wall that we detailed in our last report.