Starship SN11 launch delayed because FAA inspector not present
SpaceX’s Starship SN11 appeared ready to fly Monday, March 29, as its flaps were unchained and tested with Highway 4 leading to Boca Chica, Texas, beginning to close down as well.
However, at 10:33 a.m. the flight attempt was abruptly called off, according to a tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, because the Federal Aviation Administration inspector for the test flight would be unable to reach Starbase (Boca Chica) in time for launch. The test event was postponed until no earlier than (NET) March 30.
“This is the result of FAA’s continuing oversight of SpaceX to ensure compliance with federal regulations to protect public safety, including issues arising form the SN8 launch in December 2020,” the FAA said in a statement. “SpaceX must provide adequate notice of its launch schedule to allow for a FAA safety inspector to travel to Boca Chica.”
Temporary flight restrictions are still in place for Tuesday to Thursday of this week, while new road closures posted to the Cameron County SpaceX page specify 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT March 30 as the next flight attempt window, with a backup option from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 2.
The weather forecast is iffy for the rest of the week with rain, clouds, and wind expected each day. Check back for more updates as this dynamic situation develops.
Nicholas D'Alessandro was born and raised in Southwest Florida. The seeds of his interest in Space Exploration were planted when the Shuttle's sonic boom upon re-entry would reverberate through his childhood home even across the state; the knowledge that a real life spacecraft was passing overhead and could have that effect was fascinating to him. A middle school field trip to the Kennedy Space Center cemented that fascination, and with an additional interest in the bleeding edge of automotive technology and Teslas, it was the story of Elon Musk's path to Cape Canaveral with SpaceX that finally led Nicholas to move to the Space Coast and, after joining Spaceflight Insider in 2020, begin documenting the dawning era of commercial spaceflight.