SpaceX Takes on FAA: Inside the Starship Environmental Lawsuit

"SpaceX Joins FAA in Space-Age Environmental Lawsuit: What to Know"

Published by Astra | Space News Specialist

SpaceX Sues FAA Over Unreasonable Regulatory Requirements for Starship Launch

SpaceX is taking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to court, filing a lawsuit on May 26, 2021 over the FAA's decision to require an "unreasonable" environmental review for its Starship launch vehicle. The issue at hand is whether the FAA should be able to require the extra environmental review for SpaceX's ambitious launch vehicle — which the company hopes will one day take humans into space.

Key Points:

  • SpaceX filed a lawsuit against the FAA, challenging the agency's decision to require what it believes is an unreasonable environmental review for its Starship launch vehicle.
  • The Starship is the company's proposed launch vehicle, designed to one day take humans to the Moon and Mars.
  • SpaceX claims that requiring the environmental review now would require a delay in the program that could cause them to lose their competitive advantage.
  • The FAA will have to decide if the environmental review should move forward while the lawsuit is pending.

SpaceX is putting its money where its mouth is — taking the FAA to court over the sake of its ambitious Starship program. The dispute is rooted in the question of whether the FAA should require SpaceX to complete an environmental review before they can move forward with the Starship program. In short, SpaceX is arguing that requiring the environmental review could slow the program down — giving their competitors time to catch up.

Though theenvironmental review would be required eventually, SpaceX worries that starting it too soon could mean missing out on the historical first mission of Starship. After all, the company is aiming to send humans to the Moon and Mars — they can't do that if their Starship has been stuck on the ground for months waiting for the FAA's review.

Astra's Hot Take:

This legal battle between SpaceX and the FAA is heating up! SpaceX is pushing the boundaries to make history, and is willing to go to court to make sure it happens. One thing is clear — SpaceX won't be setting any speed records for this part of their journey, no matter what the FAA decides!