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FAA’s approval of SpaceX’s Starship operations delayed at least a month

The FAA has now had to delay the final approval of its environmental reassessment of SpaceX’s Starship facility and operations at Boca Chica for at least one month because NOAA has refused to approve the plan.

That puts NOAA’s generic review of Rocket Landing and Launches back to at least the end of January, with the much more complex and contentious USFWS [Fish and Wildlife] review also pending (this one is habitat and species review of impacts to bird and wildlife populations specific to Boca Chica).

The earliest approval by the FAA (which again, is far from a sure thing) should be projected into February. And the actual launch license process can’t be started until then. March is absolutely the earliest even the giddiest optimist could expect for Starship’s Maiden Orbital Flight.

It appears that the bureaucrats in NOAA are hostile to the launch site, and are looking for reasons, mostly environmental, to either block it or slow it down.

It also appears that a second Department of the Interior agency must sign off, and it is also hostile.

Based on this story, it looks like Starship’s first orbital flight will not happen until the latter half of ’22, if then. Nor can we expect any help from the Biden administration. Unlike Trump, the Democrats now running the executive branch of government do not like private enterprise and business, and generally look for excuses to regulate and even block it, especially if they think there is the slightest chance it might harm some formerly unknown species somewhere.

This is America today, no longer free. Rather than you making the decision freely, as an American citizen, un-elected federal government officials now decide whether you can do anything, or not.

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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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  • Patrick Underwood

    They’re afraid a Starship water landing will introduce “invasive species” into the Gulf of Mexico? What kind of nutjob could even imagine such a thing, much less imagine anyone else would fall for it?

    But of course, we’re talking federal bureaucracy here. So… never mind.

  • Patrick Underwood

    Oh. They’re talking about the hulls of possible recovery ships.

    So, does a freighter from the West Coast have to pass an interagency review before sailing into the Gulf?

    This is madness.

  • Diane Wilson

    Beyond NIMBY.

    BANANA. (Build Absolutely Nothing, Anywhere, Near Anything)

  • David Ross

    This is purest horse-exhaust. I notice that your source is cheering the news, adding stuff about Musk’s “sexism”, because he’s a horrible person.
    I left a comment [with a link] at Casey Handmer’s blog. I suggest anyone in the science community (which I’m not) make noise about this travesty.

  • Richard M

    ESG Hound has been on a one man mission (well, OK, he obviously has allies) to scupper SpaceX’s entire operation at Boca Chica almost from the beginning, so of course this latest delay is a cause for cheer for him.

  • Jeff Wright

    I really hate Greens

  • Michael

    It seems to me that beside Elon there are a bunch billionaires or factions representing billionaires that are deeply invested in SpaceX and part of this fight. If SpaceX looses the the investors loose big time so it would seem that they (SpaceX) probably have mucho powerful allies in this fight.

    With this much money involved it is probably a no holds barred contest.

    All is not lost – except for time of course.

  • Steve Richter

    Where is the government of the state of Texas in this? I thought Texans valued their independence. Or is that just talk?

  • David Telford

    What’s the Soc Sec Admin think of this launch? The Department of Motor Vehicles? Ministry of Funny Walks?

    This activity has not been so thoroughly vetted as we might hope.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Jeff Wright – The answer to your question is: Gov. Greg Abbott. Texas RINO

  • Michael G. Gallagher

    Fallen Angels shouldn’t be a how-to manual. However, I expected this to happen since the traitors to freedom are now in charge.

  • Michael G. Gallagher

    Fallen Angels is not a how-to manual.

  • Steve C

    Starship will not be allowed to launch before SLS.

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