U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Aims To Complete SpaceX Starbase Environmental Assessment By December 31st

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo November 15, 2021

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Aims To Complete SpaceX Starbase Environmental Assessment By December 31st

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting an Environmental Assessment of SpaceX’s Starbase facility, located in the southernmost tip of Texas, to ensure safe spaceflight operations. The assessment evaluates potential environmental impacts of SpaceX’s Starship/Super Heavy development program. The Administration set a timeline to complete the Starbase Environmental Assessment by December 31, 2021. The entire process is taking around six months since its start in mid-June. After the review is complete, SpaceX will be able to apply for a flight license to launch its Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle to orbit from Boca Chica Beach.

“The hard work by FAA, US Fish & Wildlife and Texas Parks & Wildlife is much appreciated, as well as the strong local support from Cameron County and Brownsville / South Padre!” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Monday, November 15. SpaceX is actively preparing the stainless-steel Starship SN20 and Super Heavy Booster 4 prototypes for a debut orbital flight test attempt that will provide engineers with data needed to further develop the spacecraft. 

“The FAA's evaluation of a permit or license application includes a review of 1) public safety issues (such as overflight of populated areas and payload contents); 2) national security or foreign policy concerns; 3) insurance requirements for the launch operator; and 4) potential environmental impact,” the Administration states. The FAA published a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) document detailing the Starship program's potential impacts and allowed the public to submit public comments to voice their concerns or support for SpaceX operations at Boca Chica last month. The public had a month-long opportunity to submit a written letter via email and/or participate in a virtual hearing to give their opinion on the Starship development program. The FAA received more than 17,000 written comments and 121 oral comments during a pair of public hearings. Most were supportive comments but the Starship program also faced some opposition. Read more in the previous TESMANIAN article: Federal Aviation Administration Listens To People's Support & Concerns Over SpaceX Starship Operations In South Texas
Featured Image Source: SpaceX 




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