SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has sat down for an interview with Lex Fridman on the Lex Fridman podcast, where he was asked to talk about the hardships he has overcome with launching Starship, the world's largest and most powerful rocket.
Musk explained that the main thing causing Starship launch delays isn't manufacturing or creating the rocket, but regulatory bodies and organizations that are preventing the rocket launch through investigations into various aspects of safety.
While you may think that safety investigations are warranted, and they are - unfortunately, it seems they can get a little out of hand as Musk said that SpaceX was contacted by an organization that was concerned about the impact of sonic booms from Starship's launch on seal procreation near the Vandenberg launch site.
Musk then says SpaceX was forced into kidnapping a seal, strap it to a wooden board, and then place headphones on it that were playing sonic boom sounds. The idea behind this test was to see if the seal would become distressed, and according to Musk, the seal remained content. Musk even went on to say, "I have pictures", and then said the test was actually carried out twice.
Musk explains that regulatory investigations such as this are examples of how Starship's launch can be pushed back. Another example is an organization that was concerned with the likelihood of Starship hitting a whale in international waters. If you are interested in learning more about that story, check out the above video of Musk explaining it.