SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer owned by Elon Musk, recently bemoaned continued regulatory headwinds from unnamed government agencies as a main foe to the quick launch of their Starship super-heavy-lift launch system.
The Starship super-heavy-lift launch system is thought to be the successor to the Falcon 9 system with a capability of surpassing any rocket ever made. Once the first full-scale prototype is launched, it would carry twice the payload of the Saturn V rocket, the Apollo-era behemoth.
However, as mentioned by a NASA official, due to regulatory processes and resulting delays, SpaceX stand in risk of losing their position as the leader in US space exploration plans and industry capacity.
SpaceX said it yeilded to the agency’s demands as they reasoned that compliance saved them the time and cost that comes with renegotiation of the changes initiated by the agency.
NASA recently pushed forward the date for the first integrated launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, a rival to SpaceX Starship.
In the face of loss of momentum, Elon Musk has proposed the establishment of a Planetary Defense Force, an agency with diplomatic power to liaise with the government agencies that would currently obstruct the development of the Starship program.
When asked about the prospects of SpaceX’s worry of losing its technological edge in space exploration due to the delays, Musk said, “Our responsibility as a company is to influence the decision-making process of governments and launch programs that stand to benefit our progress into the future of space exploration. The only way we can do this is to remain ahead of the competition in technological breakthroughs that benefit mankind.”
Despite persistent headwinds from the agencies, SpaceX continues to make progress on the Starship program and is working towards its ultimate goal of making humanity an interplanetary species. Even so, they stress that delays to their progress could risk a loss of potential for the United States in an area of technology, innovation, and science.