FAA OKs SpaceX spacecraft test flight from Texas

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has cleared the final hurdle to launch its new giant spacecraft on a first test flight from Texas as soon as next week.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted the long-awaited license on Friday. SpaceX announced that Starship – the world’s largest and most powerful rocket – could skyrocket as early as Monday.

There will be neither people nor satellites on board the 120-meter-long rocket. SpaceX will attempt to send the spacecraft around the world on the colossal booster, from the southern tip of Texas to Hawaii. The first stage will be dumped in the Gulf of Mexico and the spacecraft in the Pacific. No landings will be attempted for this debut.

It will be the first launch attempt of a full-size spacecraft, made of gleaming stainless steel and powered by methane-fueled engines.

The FAA said SpaceX met all requirements, including safety and the environment. The license is valid for five years.

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“We carefully analyzed the risks to public safety at each phase of the mission and required SpaceX to mitigate those risks,” the FAA added.

Musk envisions sending people to the moon and Mars in spaceships. NASA has already signed up for a spacecraft to take astronauts to the lunar surface as early as 2025.

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Brian Ashcraft

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