FAA Seeks to Fine SpaceX $175,000 

February 17, 2023

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday sought to levy a $175,000 fine against SpaceX over failure to submit required data ahead of a rocket launch in August.

The FAA asserts that, prior to the August 19 launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Starlink satellite, SpaceX failed to “submit launch collision analysis trajectory data” directly to the agency, per federal regulations. The maximum civil penalty for such a violation is $262,666. The FAA is seeking the lesser fine after reviewing its investigation into the incident.

“Launch collision analysis trajectory data is used to assess the probability of the launch vehicle colliding with one of the thousands of tracked objects orbiting the Earth,” according to an FAA press release.

The August 19 launch was one of a record 61 launches that SpaceX, which is owned by Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk, conducted in 2022.

In 2020, the FAA found SpaceX in violation of launch regulations for allowing a prototype of the company’s giant Starship rocket to lift off without securing approval of key data regarding its potential blast radius.

Spacex is currently launching a mission into orbit on an average of every four days.

On Friday, SpaceX was set to launch two Falcon 9 rockets on the same day—one from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base and one from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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