The FAA has closed investigations into SpaceX's explosive Starship tests, clearing the way for the launch of a new prototype, SN10

The FAA has closed investigations into SpaceX's explosive Starship tests, clearing the way for the launch of a new prototype, SN10
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and the company's Starship rocket which aims to carry people and cargo to Mars in the future.REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare/Yichuan Cao/Getty Images
  • FAA investigations into SpaceX's explosive Starship landings and a license violation have now ended.
  • This means the new prototype of the SpaceX Starship rocket, SN10, could launch in the near future.
  • Musk tweeted Sunday: "Good chance of flying this week!"

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ended its investigations into a SpaceX Starship flight test that ended in flames in February, as well as a SpaceX license violation in December.

This takes Elon Musk's space venture ever-closer to launching its third prototype of Starship, SN10, which Musk says could carry people and cargo to Mars by 2026. In response to a picture of the new Starship prototype on Sunday, Musk tweeted: "Good chance of flying this week!"

The last Starship test flight was on February 2. SpaceX blasted off a 16-story prototype of its rocket, SN9, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) above Boca Chica, Texas. It exploded upon landing.

The crash required an FAA investigation, which is normal for such outcomes.

The SN9 launch was supposed to happen January 28, but was delayed for five days because the space company violated its launch license for a previous SN8 Starship test, which also exploded, The Verge first reported.


This triggered another FAA probe, which not only examined the explosive landing, but also how SpaceX moved forward with the test flight before proposed updates to its license had been approved by the FAA, according to CNN's Jackie Wattles.

Musk criticized the FAA on Twitter, saying that with its rules "humanity will never get to Mars." The agency told Insider it was working with SpaceX to "resolve outstanding safety issues."

An FAA spokesperson said the investigations into the explosive landings and the license violation have both been settled, Wattles posted on Twitter Friday.

"The FAA closed the investigation of the Feb. 2 SpaceX Starship SN9 prototype mishap today, clearing the way for the SN10 test flight pending FAA approval of license updates," the spokesperson said, per Wattles.

"The FAA provided oversight of the SN9 mishap investigation conducted by SpaceX. The SN9 vehicle failed within the bounds of the FAA safety analysis," they added.


The spokesperson said its explosive landing didn't put the public or property in danger and all the debris from the crash was contained in the designated hazard area.

"The FAA approved the final mishap report, including the probable causes and corrective actions," they added.

Musk hopes to create a human settlement on Mars by building a fleet of 1,000 Starships and launching three of them each day. He tweeted in January that he wants 1 million people on Mars by 2050.