You can ignore Elon Musk's promises. Starship is still grounded.

Still Grounded

It's been three long months since SpaceX launched its gigantic Starship prototype spacecraft and Super Heavy booster at its testing facilities in South Texas, resulting in a spectacular explosion.

The launch obliterated the rocket's pad, sending huge chunks of steel and concrete flying, and covering the coastal region in a layer of debris.

Shortly after the launch attempt, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was grounding the rocket until SpaceX completes additional "environmental mitigations" and ensures future mishaps don't "affect public safety."

And as it turns out, we'll likely have to wait for quite a bit more time until we can watch Starship fly again: as the San Antonio Express-News reports, the FAA is still awaiting the report that'll detail the steps SpaceX needs to implement before it can try again.

Down Like the Trajectory

In other words, we have no idea when SpaceX's next orbital launch attempt will take place.

An FAA spokesperson told the newspaper that "public safety and actions yet to be taken by SpaceX will dictate the timeline."

That's in spite of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk promising a month ago the next flight was coming in the next six to eight weeks, following a static fire test.

In the meantime, SpaceX has been making changes to its launch pad with the hopes of not repeating April's damage. For instance, the company has reinforced the pad with a huge water-cooled steel plate.

The company also announced this week that it was transporting its Super Heavy Booster 9 prototype to the launch pad "for testing ahead of flight."

"In the three months since Starship’s debut, SpaceX has made remarkable progress on the hardware and launch site," Ars Technica's Eric Berger tweeted.

But despite SpaceX's best efforts, there's no guarantee that a test flight is imminent.

"Biggest challenges before the next attempt are likely regulatory," Berger added.

More on Starship: SpaceX Fires Up Starship Engines Ahead of Next Orbital Test

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