• The Federal Aviation Administration has delayed issuing its review of SpaceX's proposed expansion at its Texas launch site.
  • This marks the fourth time the review has been delayed in five months.
  • Getting the FAA's sign-off is key to SpaceX's plans to launch its huge Starship rocket into orbit.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has delayed completing an environmental review of SpaceX's new launch site in Texas for the fourth time in five months, according to an update posted to the FAA website on Friday.

The FAA started its review in July 2020 and was supposed to be finished by December 2021. The FAA now expects to release its review, called a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), on May 31.

SpaceX wants to expand Starbase site in Texas, Boca Chica by adding a second launch and landing pad. The company can only begin orbital launches of its huge Starship rocket once the FAA's assessment is complete.

The FAA said it is still "responding to comments" and "confirming mitigations for the proposed SpaceX operations."

SpaceX's expansion plans hit another hurdle last month as the US Army Corps of Engineers wanted more information on the environmental impact of the plans on local endangered species and surrounding areas. 

The FAA and SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in February he believed Starship is likely to launch into orbit for the first time this year. It is not clear whether the repeated delays have impacted the likelihood of an orbital Starship launch.

Elon Musk shared a photo to Twitter on Tuesday of two rocket engines at Starbase with the caption "each producing over half a million pounds (230 tons) of force."

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