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FAA schedules first three public meetings for Starship/Superheavy impact statement review

The FAA has now scheduled the first three public meetings as part of its new environmental impact statement review of SpaceX’s proposed construction plans at Cape Canaveral.

The in-person open houses will feature information stations where the FAA will “provide information describing the purpose of the scoping meetings, project schedule, opportunities for public involvement, proposed action and alternatives summary, and environmental resource area summary. Fact sheets will be made available containing similar information,” the project website says.

“At any time during the meetings, the public will have the opportunity to provide verbal comments to a court reporter or written comments via a written comment form at one of several commenting stations,” the website says.

It appears that SpaceX is proposing two different options for establishing an additional launchpad for Superheavy/Starship. Its preferred option is to refurbish pad LC-37, which was most recenly used by ULA to launch its Delta-4 Heavy in April. A second option is to develop a new pad entirely, dubbed LC-50.

Though the FAA claims this new impact statement is necessary because SpaceX has upped the planned annual Superheavy/Starship launches from 24 to 44, that claim is bogus. The difference is not that significant, and more important, rockets have been launching from these pads now for almost three-quarters of a century, and the environment has not only not been harmed by that activity, the wildlife surrounding the cape has prospered tremendously by the creation of a large zone where no development can occur.

That history is the real impact statement, and it proves the new red tape is unecessary. What the FAA (and the Air Force) are now doing is simply lawfare against SpaceX.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • pzatchok

    I do not so much as count it as law fare but instead as pandering to his base for Biden.

    He can have his impact study for the base and still let the launches go on close to Space X’s target time as possible. A week or so delay looks good to his base and I am sure Space X is now just expecting it.

    Its all about the election now.

  • David Eastman

    Requiring a full EIS for expansion at Canaveral is not “let the launches go on close to Space X’s target time as possible” and it is most especially not “a week or so delay.” A full EIS takes about 5 years. That’s 5 years in which SpaceX would not, in the normal course of events, be doing any of the construction and preparation of those complexes that they might not end up being able to use. SpaceX being SpaceX and Elon being Elon, they might go ahead and do the work anyways in the assumption that the permits will come, but who knows.

  • Jeff Wright

    Don’t they have door plugs to be watching?

  • Concerned

    “….the wildlife surrounding the cape has prospered tremendously….”

    I’ve been at the Cape late at night–it sounds like the Amazon jungle out there.

  • pzatchok

    The new study is not to stop the already approved announced 24 launches but the launches over those that Space X announced they will want.
    And this is ONLY for the big boy launches, not the Falcon launches.

    And seriously what new information could they find that has not already been researched in the area over the last 70 years? And that area has been under constant research by everyone.

    And remember that Space X is pretty much the only launch provider for the military. So that will never stop.

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