The action follows tension between the company and the regulatory agency. In 2021, the FAA said in a statement that SpaceX launched a prototype of its Starship rocket in violation of its launch license. Before that December test flight, SpaceX had sought a waiver that would have allowed it “to exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations,” the FAA said.
After that waiver was denied, SpaceX proceeded with the launch anyway, the FAA said.
At the time, Musk criticized the agency saying: “Unlike its aircraft division, which is fine, the FAA space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure,” he wrote on Twitter in 2021. “Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities. Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars.”
In response, the FAA said that it “will not compromise its responsibility to protect public safety. We will approve the modification only after we are satisfied that SpaceX has taken the necessary steps to comply with regulatory requirements.”
Those requirements were met after just a couple of months, and the FAA granted SpaceX additional launch licenses for its Starship program. The company is now awaiting a license for its first attempt to launch Starship into orbit. The company hopes that launch could come as early as next month.
SpaceX launched its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket 61 times last year, an unprecedented cadence as it moved fast to put its Starlink constellation of satellites into orbit. It was for one of those launches that SpaceX failed to submit the collision probability data, the FAA said.
SpaceX has 30 days to respond to the FAA.
A spokesman for SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.