SpaceX hits environmental curbs when launching Starship

SpaceX must complete more than 75 environmental measures before it can begin launching the Starship rocket at its site in Boko Chico, Texas, the Federal Aviation Administration has ruled in its final environmental review.

The FAA said in a statement that along with Environmental requirements must be met before a decision can be made to issue a license to launch SpaceX.

The Starship rocket is designed to transport second-generation Starlink satellites, replacing the Falcon 9, which was originally intended to perform this task. After launch, Starship will be the largest in the world and the first fully reusable space launch system.

On Twitter, SpaceX said that the completion of the environmental review, which was postponed, brings it closer to the Starship orbital flight test.

The FAA first made a project evaluation SpaceX’s proposals for launch in September 2021. The FAA has previously stated that its assessment of an application for a permit or license includes:

  1. review of public safety issues (eg overflight of settlements and payload content);

  2. problems of national security or foreign policy;

  3. requirements for insurance of the starter operator; and

  4. potential environmental impact

Following consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the FAA stated in its final review published June 13, 2022, that there would be a more extended launch announcement to reduce the closure time of State Highway 4 during launch.

The highway runs through Boca Chica Beach, Texas Parks and the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. Closing will not be allowed on 18 designated holidays, and restrictions on weekends are limited to no more than 5 weekends per year, ensuring reliable access to the shelter and park throughout the calendar year.

The FAA said it will also need real-time notification when access restrictions begin, end, or are lifted.

The FAA also requires SpaceX to comply with measures to protect flora and fauna in accordance with the National Conservation Act. Some of the measures include:

  • Continuous monitoring of flora and fauna by qualified biologists;

  • Provide advance notice to surrounding communities of potential engine noise and sound shocks at start-up;

  • Coordinate with government or federal agencies to remove debris from sensitive habitats;

  • Adjust the lighting at the launch complex to minimize the impact on wildlife and the nearest beach.

The environmental review is only one part of the FAA launch operator’s license application process. SpaceX must also meet FAA safety, risk and financial liability requirements before any launch activity is licensed.

According to the FAA, the application for a SpaceX license is not yet considered.

https://www.aerotime.aero/articles/31296-faa-requires-spacex-75-requirements-curb-environmental-impact SpaceX hits environmental curbs when launching Starship

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