FAA recommends 63 corrective actions to SpaceX in Starship Heavy incident report

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has closed its report into the Starship Heavy test launch at SpaceX's Boca Chica launch facility that went awry, blasting dirt and debris across a wide area. The FAA report, which includes findings from a SpaceX-led investigation into the incident which was overseen by the agency, ended up finding "multiple root causes" for the problems associated with the launch, and offers 63 corrective actions the company must implement before attempting any further launch activities.

SpaceX performed a test launch of its fully stacked Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy booster, which together make up the company's next-generation, fully reusable space launch system, on April 20, 2023. The launch was considered a success by the company, but the spacecraft did not reach orbit, and the launch pad was essentially obliterated by the forces of lift-off, spreading a dangerous amount of debris across a wide area near the launch site and damaging some nearby buildings and vehicles.

The Elon Musk space company has been showing off another fully stacked Starship and Super Heavy booster at the facility in recent days, noting that it's ready for another trial run pending results of this investigation. The FAA didn't release the full mishap report, citing "proprietary data and U.S. Export Control information," but it did specify that the closure of this investigation "does not signal an immediate resumption of Starship launches at Boca Chica."

Instead, it says SpaceX has to implement all of those 63 corrective actions (which were not released in specific detail) in order to ensure public safety is protected, and then it has to apply for a modified launch license that satisfies all requirements related to safety, environmental and other concerns. That application would then have to be approved before another test launch can be attempted.