Aircraft Entered 'Keep Out Zone,' and Musk Is Pissed

Says space regulations aren't keeping up with the times
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2021 8:59 AM CDT
Aircraft Entered 'Keep Out Zone,' and Musk Is Pissed
In this Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany.   (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP, File)

A Tuesday SpaceX launched ended up being scrubbed 11 seconds prior to liftoff due to a wayward helicopter, and Elon Musk is displeased. "An aircraft entered the 'keep out zone', which is unreasonably gigantic," he tweeted after the snafu. "There is simply no way that humanity can become a spacefaring civilization without major regulatory reform. The current regulatory system is broken." Click Orlando reports that regulatory system is under the purview of the FAA, and NBC News reports it wasn't the first 2021 dig Musk directed toward the agency. After a January delay, he took to Twitter to describe the FAA's aircraft division as "fine" but that "humanity will never get to Mars" under the FAA's space division rules. He said they aren't keeping pace with the times but rather "are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities."

The FAA defended the system, which it said worked as intended after the "privately operated helicopter violated a restricted area ... Air traffic controllers immediately directed the pilot to leave the area. For safety and security reasons, the launch was scrubbed until tomorrow." The launch is now slated for 2:56pm Wednesday. It wasn't the only headline on Tuesday involving Musk, who spoke virtually at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. He announced big goals for satellite broadband service Starlink, which is currently available in 12 countries; he projected it will be accessible planet-wide (with the exception of the North and South Poles) by August, reports CNET. The Houston Chronicle on Tuesday shared details on Musk's rented home in Texas, where he stays while working on SpaceX. It's worth $50,000. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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