Blue Origin Gets FAA Approval for Testing of New Vehicles at West Texas Site

Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)
Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The FAA has approved Blue Origin’s request to expand operations at its West Texas test site “to include new development vehicles, which would use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants.”

“After reviewing and analyzing currently available data and information on existing conditions and the potential impacts of the Proposed Action, the FAA has determined that issuing experimental permits and/or launch licenses to Blue Origin for operation of suborbital RLVs at the West Texas launch site would not significantly impact the quality of the human environment,” the agency said in document posted on its website.

The FAA conducted a supplemental assessment of the environmental impacts of Blue Origins on-going activities in West Texas. The agency concluded that a full Environmental Impact Statement was not required to assess the impacts of the new development vehicles.