I got very excited recently when I heard from serval sources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5,…) that the mishap investigation of the second Starship launch is now closed.

However, when I was looking for a primary source of the statement from the FAA, the only thing I found on their webpage was this from the first flight and nothing of the second one.

SpaceX has mentioned on their website in the updates section how they have built apon the success of the previous flights. Even though it was written around the same time the news came out that the mishap investigation of the second starship launch is closed, it does not directly state anything about it.

Where was it announced that it is now closed? Was it in the email sent from the FAA, which a few sites mentioned? If so, is the email available for the public to read?


1 Answer 1


It appears that there are two separate things - a short statement (essentially a press release) which the FAA sent via email to various news organizations (perhaps those with a space reporter registered with the FAA), and a letter sent to SpaceX. A copy of the letter was almost certainly emailed to SpaceX, although to check the regulatory box a physical copy of the letter was probably also sent.

If this is the case this would be essentially identical to what was done for the first Starship flight test. On the FAA website news section there is a statement posted on September 8, 2023 for IFT-1* that is very similar in wording to the statement received this week by news organizations for IFT-2.

The FAA website statement for IFT-1 also included a link to a letter that was sent the day before to SpaceX. Some news outlets are quoting from the IFT-2 letter which seems to have similar wording as the IFT-1 letter, however it is not clear if the letter was included in the email that they received, or if some news outlets obtained a copy of the letter through other sources.

"is the email available for the public to read?"

Technically a press release serves as public communication, however I would think it's likely that similar to IFT-1 the FAA will post on their website the statement for IFT-2, as well as a copy of the letter that was sent to SpaceX.

"Where was it announced that it is now closed?"

In the statement that was sent to news outlets it says:

FAA Statement (February 26, 2024)

The FAA has closed the SpaceX-led mishap investigation of the Starship Super Heavy Orbital Test Flight 2 (OTF-2) launch that occurred on Nov. 18, 2023.

The rest of the FAA statement can be read on the SpacePolicyOnline website (your link #2) which seems to be one of the few sites providing the full statement.

The letter to SpaceX meanwhile uses the term "concluded", based on a quote from the IFT-2 letter by the Orlando Sentinel.

"The FAA has been provided with sufficient information and accepts the root causes and corrective actions described in the mishap reports," reads a letter from the FAA to SpaceX. "Consequently, the FAA considers the mishap investigation that SpaceX was required to complete to be concluded."

This wording is identical to what was said in the letter to SpaceX for IFT-1, with the only difference being the word "reports" in the IFT-2 letter compared to "report" in the IFT-1 letter, since for IFT-2 SpaceX submitted separate reports for the booster and for the ship.

*IFT is not an official designation but it is commonly used in discussions and articles about the Starship test flights. The FAA statement for the second test flight uses the term OTF-2, meanwhile SpaceX seems to refer to them simply as flight tests.


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