Elon Musk’s SpaceX Faces $175,000 Fine for Failing to Submit Starlink Safety Data


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday proposed a $175,000 (nearly Rs. 1.45 crore) civil penalty against SpaceX for failing to submit some safety data to the agency prior to an August 2022 launch of Starlink satellites.

The FAA said SpaceX was required to submit the information, known as launch collision analysis trajectory data, directly to the agency at least seven days prior to an attempted launch. The data is used to assess the probability of the launch vehicle colliding with one of the thousands of tracked objects orbiting the Earth. SpaceX has 30 days to respond to the FAA after receiving the penalty notice.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposed penalty is SpaceX’s latest bout of tension with the FAA as the Elon Musk-owned company’s fast-pace launch business tests US launch and rocket reentry regulations.

In 2020, the FAA found SpaceX in violation of launch regulations for allowing a prototype of the company’s giant Starship rocket to liftoff without securing 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.

Earlier this month, SpaceX announced its plans to fire up all 33 engines powering its massive Starship launch system ahead of its first orbital launch, a key milestone in the company’s efforts to reach the moon and Mars. The announcement comes about two weeks after the company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, filled the rocket and booster with propellant in a “wet dress rehearsal.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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