Review of SpaceX Starship’s deluge system critical for next launch

In the wake of an explosive launch in April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing SpaceX’s Starship launch system upgrade, focusing primarily on the new deluge system and its potential environmental impacts at the South Texas launch site.

SpaceX’s Starship has been an integral part of Elon Musk’s ambitious space plans Ready for its second test flight in more than a month, as company officials told the US Subcommittee on Space and Science earlier this month. Ground teams also performed Full weight dress rehearsal earlier this week, despite the absence of a scheduled launch date. The megarocket is currently grounded, awaiting completion of the launch licensing process.

The recently initiated FWS review represents one of the final regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must clear before moving forward with its flight plans. The review formally began Oct. 19 in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to an emailed FWS statement. The Service needs to pay attention to potential environmental impacts and threats to endangered species Sensitive Boca Chica Area As a result of recent upgrades to SpaceX’s South Texas starbase, specifically the newly installed water deluge system.

Problematic test flight on April 20in which the rocket was suddenly triggered to self-destruct over the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in several serious problems at the launch site, including Major damage to launch mountThe multiple wildfires erupt, Disturbance to local wildlifeThe wide spread of debris Hundreds of acres, needless to mention Dangerously unsuccessful self-destruct sequence, In response, SpaceX and the FAA conducted a joint investigation, Leading to 63 proposed corrective actions For the private space company, which by September 10, SpaceX claims to have completed,

Among the upgrades is a new deluge system, designed to reduce the excessive force and heat generated during liftoff by spraying water. It’s basically a giant bidet for rockets in terms of how it works, but a bidet that would have to power 33 angry Raptor engines producing a combined 16 million pounds of thrust. FWS is now conducting its own assessment of the water system to ensure compliance with federal regulations. While it may seem overly concerning about a system that sprays water into a rocket as it explodes, SpaceX is required to follow stringent regulations related to the release of industrial process wastewater, as required by the federal Clean Water Act. Has been decided by. ,

FWS highlighted in its press release that the Endangered Species Act mandates restarting the formal consultation process if there are substantial modifications to a project and its impacts, if new data emerge on species that were previously considered threatened. Was not taken into account, or if a species is newly added to the list. “In consultation with the FAA, SpaceX is considering the operation of a deluge system on the launch pad,” FWS wrote.

FWS has until March 3, 2024 to complete an updated biological opinion on the environmental impact of Starship, although it does not anticipate it will take that long; The review process is likely to conclude by November 18 this year. The FAA completed its investigation in September, but as the FWS assessment continues, the regulator has not yet given SpaceX the necessary approval for its proposed second flight. If the FAA determines that SpaceX’s amendments require a re-evaluation of its prior environmental assessment by 2022, a more extensive review may be required.

In August, the FAA attempted to resume consultation with the FWS by submitting a new biological assessment detailing the potential impacts of Starship modifications on local endangered species and habitats. But as Bloomberg reportsFWS found the information insufficient for formal review, prompting the FAA to provide an updated assessment on October 5. This marked the official beginning of the consultation process.

Related Articles: SpaceX blames understaffed FAA for Starship regulatory delays

Earlier this month, SpaceX executives blamed the understaffed FAA for Starship regulatory delays and said the regulator should double the staff in charge of issuing space licenses. This may very well be the case, but SpaceX has only itself to blame for its recent regulatory woes. SpaceX, committed to the “move fast and break things” mantra, is now stuck in a regulatory quagmire largely of its own making.

Do you want to know more about Elon Musk’s space venture? Check out our full coverage SpaceX’s Starship megarocket And this SpaceX Starlink Internet Satellite Megaconstellation, And follow us for more space flight in your life x And bookmarks dedicated to Gizmodo space flight page,

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