SpaceX can proceed with planned orbital launches of its Starship vehicle from Texas provided Elon Musk’s company makes dozens of environmental adjustments, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday.
Driving the news: An FAA environmental review found there would be “no significant impact” to the Gulf Coast region from SpaceX’s launches from its Boca Chica site.
Yes, but: The FAA said SpaceX must take more than 75 steps to mitigate environmental impacts.
The big picture: Requirements include closing a nearby highway and Boca Chica beach during launches. “Closures will not be permitted on the 18 identified holidays” and will be limited to five weekends per year, according to an emailed statement to the FAA.
- SpaceX must work with a “qualified biologist” on lighting inspections to minimize impact on sea turtles, conduct quarterly local beach cleanups, help with education and conservation efforts in the area.
- The company is also required to make contributions of $5,000 a year each to groups that protect endangered ocelots and birds of prey, among other measures.
What they say : “Environmental review must be completed with public safety, national security, and other analyzes before a decision on whether to grant a launch license can be made,” the FAA said.
- “The license application is still pending.”
The bottom line, via Miriam Kramer of Axios: SpaceX now has the opportunity to gain full approval to launch its Mars rocket from its preferred launch site.
Go further… Elon Musk: There’s a 70% chance I’ll personally go to Mars