SpaceX Faces $175K Fine for Failing to Provide Critical Data to FAA Before Launch

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Friday that it is proposing a $175,000 fine against SpaceX for failing to provide critical data about the trajectory of a Falcon 9 rocket prior to its launch last August. According to the FAA, SpaceX failed to submit data that helps evaluate the probability of a rocket colliding with objects tracked in orbit, and the company had to provide this data at least seven days before the launch. SpaceX has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine.

The FAA licenses all rocket launches in the United States and is responsible for ensuring the safety of all spacecraft and objects in orbit. The information on rocket trajectory helps keep the rocket and spacecraft safe by evaluating the risk of a crash with other objects in orbit.

This is not the first time SpaceX has been at odds with the FAA. In 2020, the agency found SpaceX in violation of launch regulations for allowing a prototype of the company’s giant Starship rocket to lift off without approval of key data involving the vehicle’s potential blast radius. In 2021, the FAA revised SpaceX commercial launch requirements to mandate that an FAA safety inspector be present for every flight at its Boca Chica launch facility after the FAA said the company violated license requirements for a Starship launch.

SpaceX is a fast-paced launch business that has conducted hundreds of rocket flights, including a record-breaking 61 in 2022. The company also operates the largest constellation of satellites in orbit today, with more than 3,000 spacecraft under the Starlink program. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, owned by SpaceX, delivers astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and the company’s Starship spacecraft is expected to help NASA astronauts land on the moon.

The FAA and the space industry have been discussing ways to better integrate rocket launches into aviation corridors, which are also used by the commercial airline industry. The Congress recently provided the FAA’s commercial space office with additional funding to keep pace with the growing demands of the space industry. SpaceX has previously stated that it is committed to safe practices across its operations, which include launching payloads and crew members and deploying thousands of Starlink satellites to Earth’s orbit.

Rahul Somvanshi

Rahul, possessing a profound background in the creative industry, illuminates the unspoken, often confronting revelations and unpleasant subjects, navigating their complexities with a discerning eye. He perpetually questions, explores, and unveils the multifaceted impacts of change and transformation in our global landscape. As an experienced filmmaker and writer, he intricately delves into the realms of sustainability, design, flora and fauna, health, science and technology, mobility, and space, ceaselessly investigating the practical applications and transformative potentials of burgeoning developments.

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