The FAA has concluded that there would be no significant environmental impact from the flights. The agency issued its finding in a new report, “Final Environmental Assessment for the Launch and Reentry of SpaceShipTwo Reusable Suborbital Rockets at the Mojave Air and Space Port and Finding of No Significant Impact.”
The decision clears the way for the FAA to issue experimental permits and launch licenses for the test flights. The analysis was based on up to 30 launches annually of the eight-person suborbital spacecraft which Scaled Composites is building for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company.
“Although experimental permits and launch licenses could authorize unspecified number of launch and reentries, for the purposes of evaluating environmental impacts in this EA, the FAA/AST has assumed a maximum of up to 30 total launches and reentries per year of SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave Air and Space Port, for a total of up to 150 launches and reentries of SpaceShipTwo between 2012 and 2016,” the report reads.