Digital Illustration Created By: Erc X @ErcXspace via Twitter
SpaceX is developing its next-generation launch vehicle at the South Texas Launch Facility located in Boca Chica Beach. The aerospace company aims to manufacture a fully reusable Starship, capable of performing long-duration voyages with up to one hundred passengers aboard. "We need to wake up in the morning and be excited about the future... I think becoming a spacefaring civilization is one of those things everyone can get excited about," the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk says. To embark on a voyage to Mars, Starship will utilize a gigantic Super Heavy rocket booster to propel to orbit. Engineers are currently testing stainless-steel Starship prototypes. Multiple vehicles are under assembly, each will undergo testing towards the development of the launch system. The first prototype of the Super Heavy rocket is expected to undergo testing in 2021. So far, the company has performed low-altitude test flights, an orbital test flight is planned for next year.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it is currently evaluating SpaceX’s proposal “to conduct new test operations and orbital launches of the Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle at its Boca Chica Launch Site in Cameron County, Texas,” the Administration wrote, “SpaceX's new proposal requires obtaining an experimental permit or vehicle operator license from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.” SpaceX could test as many as twenty Starship prototypes at Boca Chica before it manufactures the final iteration of the spacecraft. Boca Chica village is rapidly turning into a rocket factory that will one day become a 21st Century Spaceport.
The FAA will assess if SpaceX can continue its launch operations at the beach village that is nearby a wild life refuge and around 30 minutes away from the city. During the assessment, the FAA states it will evaluate SpaceX’s proposal to launch full-scale launch vehicles and how these launches could affect the environment. Among the things the FAA will take into consideration during the evaluation are: ‘air quality, biological resources (including fish, wildlife, plants), climate, coastal resources, farmlands, hazardous materials, pollution prevention,’ among a variety of other things like nearby historical sites and water resources. If SpaceX passes the evaluation for its plans, the company will remain on track to develop the launch vehicle.
The FAA is conducting an evaluation of SpaceX's plan to test and launch its Starship rocket and Super Heavy booster from Boca Chica, Texas, which will notably include a detailed environmental impact assessment:https://t.co/azHmXA4mca pic.twitter.com/U4DiXtP0Kk— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) November 23, 2020
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s next test could take place before November ends. According to Cameron County Boca Chica Beach closure announcements, SpaceX could soon perform a 15-kilometer test flight of the Starship SN8 prototype as soon as November 30 from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time. Back-up launch dates are scheduled for December 1st and 2nd. You can watch SpaceX operations in South Texas Live in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.
WATCH IT LIVE!
About the Author
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.