SpaceX completes required 'corrective actions' ahead of 2nd Starship flight, Elon Musk says

a rocket flies through the sky trailing a plume of fire behind it
SpaceX's first fully integrated Starship vehicle rises into the South Texas sky on April 20, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX via X)

SpaceX has cleared the logistical hurdles standing in the way of the second test flight of its giant Starship vehicle, according to Elon Musk.

Starship's first flight, which launched from SpaceX's Starbase site in South Texas on April 20, didn't last long. The vehicle suffered several problems shortly after liftoff, including the failure of its two stages to separate as planned. As a result, SpaceX engaged Starship's self-destruct system, destroying the rocket high above the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted an investigation into that flight, which the agency wrapped up on Friday (Sept. 8). The investigation identified 63 corrective actions SpaceX "must take to prevent mishap reoccurrence," FAA officials said in an emailed statement on Friday.

RelatedRelive SpaceX's explosive 1st Starship test in incredible launch photos

This was no mere academic exercise; the FAA awards launch licenses, so SpaceX needs to comply with those findings to get Starship off the ground again. And the company is in good shape to do so now, Musk said.

"Congrats to SpaceX for completing & document[ing] the 57 items required by the FAA for Flight 2 of Starship! Worth noting that 6 of the 63 items refer to later flights," the billionaire entrepreneur posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday (Sept. 10).

A day earlier, Musk posted on X a photo of SpaceX's next Starship vehicle on Starship's orbital launch mount, with the caption "Starship Flight 2."

SpaceX has not yet announced a liftoff date, but Musk has said that Flight 2 can take place pretty much as soon as the FAA awards a launch license. That regulatory step has not yet happened, as far as we know. 

The second Starship flight will be similar in its aims to the first one, Musk has said. SpaceX wants to get the vehicle's upper stage partway around Earth, with a targeted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

SpaceX has big dreams for Starship, the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. The fully reusable vehicle will make the establishment of human settlements on Mars economically feasible, Musk has said.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

  • danR
    All 57 varieties of mitigation secured.
    SpaceX plays catch up with FAA.
  • donjeep
    danR said:
    All 57 varieties of mitigation secured.
    SpaceX plays catch up with FAA.
    Article is WRONG! ""(FAA) conducted an investigation into that flight"".. It was SPACEX that conducted the investigation and compiled the list of what went wrong with the 1st flight and the FAA just echoed back that they needed to fix those addressed items.