SpaceX’s new launch site in Texas will undergo an environmental review to prepare for the first flights with the company’s new spacecraft.
The private space company owns a launch site in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica, where Starship prototypes are currently being built and tested. The spaceship Starship is SpaceX’s next generation transport system designed to take people to and from the moon, Mars and beyond.
On November 23, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that SpaceX plans to apply for licenses for launches of Starship in sub- and circulation. The FAA will conduct an environmental review of the site before SpaceX can launch its new spacecraft, which is powered by the Super Heavy rocket.
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“The proposed update of Starship / Super Heavy operations falls outside the scope of the existing Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision for the launch site, and requires further environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),”
NEPA helps to ensure that environmental impacts are assessed during the launch licensing process. To receive appropriate suborbital and orbital launch licenses, SpaceX must comply with environmental and safety regulations. In addition, the company must develop agreements for the license application, according to the statement.
The FAA is currently in the process of conducting an environmental review of the launch site and developing a public outreach plan. SpaceX is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA), which will determine the impact of launching Starship from the Texas website, as well as appropriate mitigation measures. EA will also be subject to FAA evaluation and approval.
SpaceX has begun hiring offshore operations engineers to help develop the floating, super-hard-class space ports to be used to launch Starship. If all goes according to plan, SpaceX representatives have said that the first operational Starship missions can start as early as next year.
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