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FAA to Conduct EIS for Starship Launches from KSC

SpaceX’s Starship after liftoff. Credit: SpaceX

Ibadan, 13 May 2024. – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States has disclosed its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of issuing a commercial launch Vehicle Operator License to SpaceX for the Starship-Super Heavy launch vehicle at Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida.

FAA will consequently hold three in-person scoping meetings and one virtual public scoping meeting, allowing the public to receive information on the proposed EIS, meet lead and cooperating agency representatives, and provide comments to the record

NASA had previously conducted an Environmental Assessment regarding SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy Launch Vehicle at Kennedy Space Center. It evaluated the potential environmental impacts from construction and operations associated with utilizing LC-39A for the SpaceX Starship-Super Heavy launch vehicle in practical applications.

However, according to the FAA, the Starship-Super Heavy concept of operations has evolved from the original 2019 EA scope. SpaceX now proposes additional launch infrastructure not previously contemplated in the 2019 EA. These include a Super Heavy booster catch tower, a natural gas liquefaction system and air separation unit for propellant generation, and stormwater/deluge ponds. SpaceX also proposes to launch an advanced design of the Starship and Super Heavy vehicle, operate at a projected higher launch tempo, and land the Super Heavy booster at LC-39A in support of its reusability concept.

The EIS will consequently consider the potential environmental impacts of the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Furthermore, the successful completion of the environmental review process does not guarantee that the FAA will issue a Vehicle Operator License as the project must also meet all FAA safety, risk, and indemnification requirements for the appropriate license.

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