An outline environmental report on SpaceX Starship orbital launches published by FAA
An outline environmental assessment published by the Federal Aviation Administration indicates that SpaceX will be proficient in order to progress with orbital Starship launches from Texas. However, with several modifications’ mandatory.
On 17th September, the publication of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) by the FAA begins a public comment phase that will run through till 18th October. This is with two virtual public meetings set up for
- 6th October 2021
- 7th October 2021
The FAA requires the evaluation prior to determining whether to release which of the following licenses to SpaceX for orbital launches of its Starship/Super Heavy vehicle –
- Launch license
- Experiment license
Earlier low-altitude suborbital test flights by Starship use up a previous environmental evaluation. This is initially set up when SpaceX scheduled to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets from its Boca Chica, Texas, site. That earlier assessment is not adequate in order to account for environmental effects. This is from the far greater Starship/Super Heavy configuration.
The report itself does not decide if the FAA must license Starship orbital launches although as an alternative evaluate the environmental impacts. This is of launch events and whether and how they can be lessened. The report could lead the FAA in order to pursue what it calls a “more rigorous” environmental influence statement.
In a tweet on 17th September, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to the public in order to express his aid for his firm’s Boca Chica plans. “Please add your opinion to the public statements. Aid is greatly valued!” he says. “Humankind’s potential on the moon, Mars & beyond hinges on upon it.”
Once the public statement time closes, the FAA will integrate those comments and other work into a final edition of the environmental evaluation. The FAA will then make a “recording of judgment”. This is about whether the proposal would have substantial environmental influences. Only when that is done would it end the licensing procedure for Starship/Super Heavy orbital launches.