NASA is concerned that SpaceX’s Starship rocket launch in Florida could damage the space agency’s launch infrastructure.
NASA wants to ensure that the Starship rocket launch plan will not endanger important assets, a senior space agency official told Reuters.
Officials told SpaceX that an explosion at the launch site could impact NASA’s ability to launch American astronauts to the International Space Station, according to Reuters.
NASA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
SpaceX is reportedly considering a plan to launch American astronauts from another site in Florida. However, it could take months to get agency approval and potentially lead to a delayed launch, the news agency reports. SpaceX’s Starship rocket is a fully reusable rocket capable of carrying groups of people into space.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
NASA Florida concerns come amid complications at SpaceX’s Texas launch site. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has completed an extended environmental review of SpaceX’s Texas launch site.
The FAA began its review in July 2020 and was expected to be completed by December 2021. The review has since suffered from a series of delays and is expected to be completed next week. Elon Musk originally planned to launch the Starship rocket into orbit for the first time in early 2022.
SpaceX has leased Launch Complex 39A in Florida from NASA since 2014. SpaceX ramped up operations at the Florida launch pad last year due to delays at its Texas launch site.
This isn’t the first time NASA has raised concerns about SpaceX’s operations. Insider reported in February 2022 that NASA raised concerns about SpaceX’s plans to put 30,000 more Starlink satellites into orbit, citing concerns about overcrowding and collisions.