What would Elon Musk be without bullshit? The youngest is with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the agency responsible for the licensing of commercial rocket launches in the United States. At the center of the confusion is the development of the spacecraft program, which, according to SpaceX, is mankind’s passport to the colonization of Mars.
It is not surprising that there is a bureaucratic conflict with a project like it has never been done before. At the same time, the company is learning from Musk how to make a rocket, developing the means of mass production, and testing its highly innovative technologies in flight in quick succession.
To sum it up in a few words, SpaceX urges the FAA to be agile in licensing flights where an 18-story building is raised to a height of about 10 km and then from there not over the ocean but onto the ground being dropped from Texas in an attempt to make a soft landing in the final hour.
When the FAA approved such a trial with the SN8 prototype last December, everything went right – an incredible feat for a maiden flight, even considering SpaceX’s successful track record of vertical missile landings. Still, it ended in a ball of fire.
As far as is known, the episode did not cause any harm to property or anyone, and this is the FAA’s focus on publishing tests. What is not known is why the agency was still seeing problems with the prototype SN9, which would do the exact same flight profile. The impasse prompted Musk (who, despite his undeniable brilliance, sometimes acts like a spoiled kid) to start an arm wrestling with the agency.
Last Thursday (28), SpaceX prepared the SN9 for flight. He performed all pre-launch procedures and attempted to force the FAA to allow the attempt to go through to the final chime. The bureaucracy resisted the pressure and even announced the postponement of the start on their own bike. Musk went to Twitter for curses. Speaking to a follower, he said, “(A) The FAA’s space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure. Its rules apply to a handful of one-way starts per year in some government institutions. According to these rules, humanity will never reach Mars. “
The next day, a similar piece with SpaceX preparing the SN9 and the FAA refusing to authorize it. In a mixture of workflow and provocation, the company took the SN10 prototype out of the hangar and placed it on a second platform in anticipation of a tight flight. The line grows, the scene screams.
The FAA is actually in the process of changing its regulations to make them more suitable for the new era. But in an arm wrestling with the law, Musk could only win in a banana republic. At this point, SpaceX can only provide the documentation requested by the agency and patiently wait for the release. Or arrange your move to Brazil, where everything can be done for a modest sum.
This column is published in Folha Corrida on Mondays.
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