Starship and Super Heavy on the Pad at Starbase. Credits: SpaceX

FAA Clears SpaceX for Third Starship Flight

The FAA has authorized SpaceX for the third Starship orbital flight attempt, currently set to launch as soon as March 14th

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially given clearance to SpaceX for the much-anticipated third orbital launch attempt of its Starship rocket. This announcement comes after SpaceX anticipated the planned attempt just days ago.

In a statement released on March 13 by the FAA, the agency confirmed that SpaceX “met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements, the license applies to all phases of the proposed OFT-3 operation.”

Starship and Super Heavy on the Pad at Starbase. Credits: SpaceX
Starship and Super Heavy on the Pad at Starbase. Credits: SpaceX

A 110-minute launch window is set to commence at 7 a.m. CT, or 12:00 UTC. SpaceX is planning to livestream the Starship launch, as always. The live webcast will begin approximately 30 minutes before liftoff on the company’s X official account.

The FAA previously announced the conclusion of its investigation into the incident involving Starship’s Second Test Flight (OTF-2), which occurred on November 18, 2023.


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License acquired, rocket ready

In recent weeks, SpaceX has undertaken pre-launch preparations, including a successful full Wet Dress Rehearsal.

Notably, SpaceX filled Starship and Super Heavy with over 10 million pounds of liquid methane and liquid oxygen in approximately 45 minutes, a significant improvement over the previous ~90 minutes.

Additionally, in the morning of March 8th, the flight termination system team was spotted while approaching the vehicles on the pad, indicating an imminent installation of the explosives.

Building on the foundation laid by previous missions, SpaceX’s third Starship flight aims to achieve new milestones, that the company shared on its website along with the confirmation of the attempt.

Among the key objectives for this mission is the opening and closing of Starship’s payload door while coasting after engine cutoff. This critical maneuver represents a significant step forward in demonstrating the versatility and functionality of the rocket platform to release actual payload.

SpaceX's Super Heavy booster and Starship rocket undergoing a countdown rehearsal, ahead of the third test flight, at the Starbase Launch Complex in Texas. Credits: SpaceX
SpaceX’s Super Heavy booster and Starship rocket undergoing a countdown rehearsal, ahead of the third test flight, at the Starbase Launch Complex in Texas. Credits: SpaceX

Additionally, SpaceX aims to conduct a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, a critical milestones that will unlock a more complex testing of a full-scale in-orbit propellant transfer. This demonstration also lays the groundwork for SpaceX’s plans in NASA’s Artemis Program, which will depend from this capability to refuel Starship in LEO.

Another aspects of this mission is the planned re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, a feat never before attempted in the Starship program. Furthermore, SpaceX hopes to conclude the mission with the execution of a controlled reentry of the Starship upper stage, with a splashdown targeted in the Indian Ocean.

Lastly, the company also hopes to bring the booster to a safe, controlled, vertical splashdown in the Gulf Of Mexico.


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Edoardo Giammarino

Edoardo Giammarino

Co-Founder & Administrator. Drummer and Red Cross Volunteer, born in 1997. I like analog photography and videomaking. Firmly music-addicted.

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