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SpaceX had been scheduled to test the latest iteration of its Starship rocket today.
Then the FAA announced that it had scrubbed the launch — prompting a furious response from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
But instead of standing down, SpaceX went ahead and continued fueling up the spacecraft. In fact, at press time, SpaceX had completed the fueling process and moved on to the final pre-launch step of chilling the engine.
Defying the FAA would presumably put SpaceX in extraordinary legal jeopardy — although, at the same time, Musk does have a history of standing up to powerful government organizations.
In light of that, it’s unclear whether SpaceX is now treating the exercise as a dress rehearsal for a launch, or if it’s still negotiating with the FAA to reschedule the launch, or if it’s modified the day’s plans to do a static test fire instead of the planned high-altitude flight.
For its part, the FAA issued a statement reading that it will “continue working with SpaceX to resolve outstanding safety issues before we approve the next test flight.”
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