The Federal Aviation Administration says it wants at least two more months to finish an environmental assessment. This is of SpaceX Starship orbital launches from its Boca Chica, Texas, facility.
The FAA says on 28th December that was incompetent to meet an original 31st December deadline. This is in order to complete an environmental review of proposals by SpaceX to conduct orbital launches of its Starship/Super Heavy vehicle. This is from the Boca Chica facility the firm calls Starbase. That assessment, officially known as a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), is a key prerequisite for acquiring an FAA launch license which is a mandate for those launches.
“But, due to the high volume of remarks on the Draft PEA. Debates and consultation efforts with consulting parties, the FAA is publishing an update to the plan,” the FAA mentions on its website. “The FAA now intends to release the Final PEA on February 28, 2022.”
The FAA receives more than 18,000 public remarks to the draft version of the report, announced in September. SpaceX is at work in order to respond to those public remarks under the supervision of the FAA, the agency notes. However, did not give further details about the analysis of the comments. Two public investigations about the evaluation in October made many comments both supportive and critical of SpaceX’s projects.
The environmental assessment process also contains consultations with other government organizations. The FAA notes that those consultations include those regarding –
- Endangered species
- Perseveration of historical sites
It is not clear, though, that SpaceX would be prepared for an orbital launch effort on that schedule. This is even if the environmental evaluation and licensing procedure were complete as the earlier plan. Musk says in November that SpaceX would perform a “bunch of tests” of the following in December –
- Starship vehicle
- Super Heavy booster
However, many of those likely tests, such as static fires, have not hit yet.