U.S. FAA aims to complete SpaceX spacecraft review by December 31

A SpaceX SN15 prototype spacecraft is seen as it sits on a transporter after Wednesday’s successful launch and first landing since the company’s spacecraft facility, in Boca Chica, Texas, USA, on May 6, 2021. REUTERS / Gene Blevins

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (Reuters) – The United States Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it has set a target date of December 31 to complete the environmental assessment process for the SpaceX Starship / Super Heavy environmental review.

In September, the FAA extended the public comment period for the proposed environmental review program for the proposed Boca Chica, Texas, until November 1. The FAA received more than 17,000 written comments and 121 oral comments during two public hearings.

SpaceX, the space company led by Elon Musk, cannot launch the Starship / Super Heavy vehicle until the FAA completes its clearance process, which includes the environmental review.

Musk said on Twitter Monday that he appreciated the “hard work of the FAA, US Fish & Wildlife and Texas Parks & Wildlife” in reviewing and “strong local support” for the project.

The FAA released a 151-page draft environmental review in September. The review examines the potential environmental impacts of SpaceX’s initial mission profile and examines debris recovery, local road closures in Boca Chica, and other issues.

Reuters reported in July that the FAA had warned SpaceX that the agency could order it to dismantle a new tower because the environmental review was not complete.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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