FAA Draft Environmental Impact Statement Supports SpaceX Texas Launch Site

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Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

The FAA’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on SpaceX proposed commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas, has found no significant impacts on health, safety or the environment, paving the way for the project to proceed.

“The Proposed Action, which is the Preferred Alternative, is for the FAA to issue launch licenses and/or experimental permits to SpaceX that would allow SpaceX to conduct launches of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles and a variety of reusable suborbital launch vehicles from a private launch site on privately owned property in Cameron County, Texas,” the report reads. “Proposed operations would consist of up to 12 launches per year with a maximum of two Falcon Heavy launches, through the year 2022.”

“All Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches would be expected to have commercial payloads, including satellites or experimental payloads. In addition to standard payloads, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy may also carry a capsule, such as the SpaceX Dragon capsule,” the report states.

“The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy use liquid fuels including liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket propellant-1 (RP-1). Within the 12 launches per year, SpaceX may elect to have permitted launches of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles from this proposed site. A reusable suborbital launch vehicle could consist of a Falcon 9 Stage 1 tank. All launch trajectories would be to the east over the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of launches would be conducted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. However, there could be one nighttime launch per year.”

The publication of the draft EIS begins a 45-day period of public comment that ends on June 3. The FAA will conduct a three-hour meeting to solicit comments on May 7 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the International Technology, Education and Commerce Center, located at 301 Mexico Boulevard, Suite G-1, Brownsville, Texas.

SpaceX also is considering sites in Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico. None of these projects has gotten as far as obtaining a draft EIS.

You can find the full documentation here: