The Starship rocket launched by billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX had violated the terms of its Federal Aviation Administration test license, according to sources. The rocket which had a successful test launch, exploded last month while attempting to land.
An investigation was opened that week focusing on the explosive landing and on SpaceX’s refusal to stick to the terms of what the FAA authorized.
The rocket was a 16-storey-tall prototype for the heavy-lift launch vehicle being developed the private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
The self-guided rocket blew up as it touched down on a landing pad following a controlled descent. The test flight had been intended to reach an altitude of 41,000 feet, propelled by three of SpaceX’s newly developed Raptor engines for the first time. But the company is yet to give clarity as to whether the rocket had flown that high.
The FAA said it would evaluate additional information provided by SpaceX as part of its application to modify its launch license.
“We will approve the modification only after we are satisfied that SpaceX has taken the necessary steps to comply with regulatory requirements,” it said in a statement.