FAA Moves to Fine SpaceX Over August Starlink Launch

The agency says the company launched a Falcon 9 without submitting the required paperwork in advance.

Eric Mack
Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Falcon 9 launch ANASIS-II

A Falcon 9 blasting off.

Screenshot by CNET

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking to fine Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, for not submitting safety data before a Starlink mission that took off this past summer. 

The US agency has proposed a $175,000 civil penalty against SpaceX "for failure to submit launch collision analysis trajectory data directly to the FAA" prior to the Aug. 19 launch of the Starlink Group 4-27 mission, according to a Friday statement from the FAA. "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."

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.   

The company was required to turn in the paperwork at least a week before the launch, the FAA's statement says. The agency says SpaceX has 30 days to respond to the enforcement-action proposal. 

The amount of the fine is based on statutory limits for such enforcement moves. In the past year, SpaceX has been valued at more than $125 billion

SpaceX launched more than 60 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets in 2022, a record for any commercial space company. Starlink is the company's satellite internet service.

The rocket maker has previously run into problems with the FAA. The launch of a Starship prototype, SN8, failed to comply with agency requirements and triggered an investigation that was later settled, according to the agency.