The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this Wednesday authorized SpaceX to carry out its second launch of Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built, after a first attempt in April that ended in a large explosion.
In a statement, the FAA said that Elon Musk's company "has complied with the responsibility requirements regarding safety, environment, regulation and finance," after the mishap of its first orbital test flight.
“We are marking Friday, November 17 for the second Starship test flight,” SpaceX posted on X following the clearance.
A two-hour window will open for the launch at 07:00 local time (1:00 p.m. GMT) from the company's facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.
The broadcast can be followed live from X and the SpaceX website.
On April 20, SpaceX's unmanned rocket exploded four minutes after takeoff. Starship experienced multiple engine failures.
The rocket disintegrated and caused a fireball and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, raising a cloud of dust that covered several kilometers.
The FAA quickly launched an investigation, while conservation groups announced they would sue the agency for not doing enough to protect the environment, given the proximity of its activities to the habitats of protected species.
Starship is 120 meters tall and produces 7,600 tons of takeoff thrust, more than double the power of the Saturn V rockets that carried the Apollo mission to the Moon.
Starship is designed to be reused and both stages of the rocket are expected to return to Earth, greatly reducing costs.
SpaceX expects it to be the vehicle that one day carries cargo and crew to Mars. For its part, NASA acquired a version of Starship as a landing craft for its Artemis program, in which it hopes to return astronauts to the Moon in the middle of this decade.
The flight plan for the new launch will be similar to that of April. After separation, Starship will continue at an altitude “a little below orbit,” according to Musk, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.