On Tuesday, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was seconds away from launching scores of satellites into orbit when the launch was canceled due to an airliner entering the launch zone. According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the rocket’s stay-out location is absurdly large, who tweeted about the launch’s 24-hour delay. Without massive regulatory reform, humanity will never be able to become a spacefaring civilization.
The current regulatory framework is ineffective. It’s the latest escalation in Musk’s long-running dispute with authorities. It’s the latest escalation in Musk’s long-running dispute with management. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration claims that when SpaceX launched its Starship SN8, which it hopes could one day take humans to Mars, it disregarded multiple warnings from the agency. As a result, SpaceX requested a waiver to “reach the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety laws,” according to the FAA, but the request was denied.
Musk has had a tense relationship with the FAA, but it’s not the only one. According to Bloomberg, he hung up on the National Transportation Safety Board director during a phone discussion concerning a deadly car accident involving a Tesla Model X in 2018. In the same year, he famously got into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission after tweeting about taking Tesla private. Despite his run-ins with regulators, Musk tweeted in April that “99.9% of the time” he agrees with them.