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U.S. FAA extends Environmental Review of SpaceX Program in Texas

U.S. FAA extends Environmental Review of SpaceX Program in Texas

After Wednesday’s successful launch and landing from the company’s starship facility in Boca Chica (Texas), U.S. May 6, 2020, a SpaceX SN15 prototype starship is seen sitting on a transporter. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

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WASHINGTON (Reuters, March 25th, 2015) – Friday’s announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), indicated that it had extended its target date for completing an environmental review of the proposed SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy rocket programs in Boca Chica (Texas) to April 29.

The FAA had previously set March 28 as its target date. The FAA stated that the completion of an environmental review does not guarantee that a vehicle operator license is issued. However, it must meet FAA safety, financial responsibility, and risk requirements.

The FAA stated that it was currently reviewing the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment and is completing consultations and coordination with agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, stated last month that he was “highly optimistic” about his new SpaceX Starship, which is designed for trips to the moon or Mars. It will reach Earth orbit for its first time this year.

The FAA is considering whether the proposed build-out in Texas will have a significant impact on the environment. It must also examine the surrounding wildlife reserves before granting licenses for expanded operations at SpaceX’s rocket production facility and spaceport at Boca Chica.

Musk said that SpaceX has a plan for a fallback in the event of a “worst case” scenario in which an environmental impact statement was required or legal wrangling about the issue threatened to drag out,

Musk stated that the company would transfer its entire Starship program, which is located at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. SpaceX has already received all the environmental approvals it needs.

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He said that such a move would result in a delay of six to eight more months. SpaceX still hopes to launch its private mission to the moon in 2023. It will fly aboard a Starship and circle the moon, returning to Earth.

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Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Chris Reese, Bernard Orr

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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