VIDEO: SpaceX’s Starbase Director of Operations Rescues Stranded Sea Turtle At Boca Chica Beach

VIDEO: SpaceX’s Starbase Director of Operations Rescues Stranded Sea Turtle At Boca Chica Beach

Featured Image Source: SPadre @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter 

Elon Musk founded SpaceX to make life multiplanetary. He envisions using Starship as a modern-day 'Noah’s Ark' that will be capable of transporting humans and animals to Mars someday in order to preserve all kinds of species. He believes it is important to safeguard living things on a second planet in case an apocalyptic event were to threaten all life on Earth. SpaceX employees share a similar sentiment and do what they can to ensure their spaceflight activities have minimal interference with local wildlife where they operate across the United States. They are developing Starship at the Starbase facility in South Texas located in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The facility neighbors a public beach and a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge. The company works closely with local animal conservation organizations to ensure safety of all wildlife near the Starship factory and launch pad area.

On Monday, June 13, SpaceX’s Starbase Sr. Director of Operations Sam Patel rescued a stranded sea turtle at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, shared a local resident who goes by SPadre @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter. They shared a short video of Mr. Patel with a Sea Turtles Inc. (STI) representative driving an amphibious vehicle along the seashore to transport the turtle to safety, linked below. STI is a local conservation organization. "A stranded injured sea turtle at Boca Chica Jetty was rescued and transported to the Sea Turtle Inc facility on South Padre Island Texas by STI staff and Sam Patel," they stated in the video caption. "This amazing amphibious vehicle has been used in many similar sea turtle rescues in collaboration with Sea Turtle Inc. and greatly reduces the transport time for the turtles." There's only seven species of sea turtles in the world and the Boca Chica Beach/South Padre Island region is home to five species: green, loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback, and Kemp’s ridley.


Local residents have also seen a four-wheeler with a decorative turtle that features a SpaceX "X" logo on its back that is used by the company to find and monitor sea turtle nests along the beach, pictured below. According to a U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service document, one of SpaceX's requirements is to inspect the areas near the launch pad during sea turtle nesting season from March 15 to October 1 between 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m CDT. SpaceX employees have previously volunteered during winter to rescue cold-stunned sea turtles in the Boca Chica/South Padre Island region. 

SpaceX is currently pending approval to perform Starship's first orbital flight test due to an ongoing environmental assessment performed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The review is meant to ensure safe spaceflight operations and assess potential environmental impacts to the area. The agencies started to conduct the assessment around 11 months ago and are scheduled to complete today (June 13th), after multiple delays. The FAA will likely announce if SpaceX can apply for a spaceflight license this afternoon. SpaceX aims to launch the first-ever Starship orbital flight test this year, getting approval is important to rapidly advance the spacecraft’s development. 


Featured Images Source: SPadre @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter 

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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