Virginia Legislators Ask NASA to Conduct Environmental Study on Wallops Island Expansion

Antares rocket on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Antares rocket on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Virginia legislators will ask NASA to conduct an environmental impact study on landing commercial launch vehicles and spacecraft at the Wallops Flight Facility.

The joint resolution, passed by House of Delegates and now pending in the Senate, specifically mentions plans by SpaceX to land the first stages of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters at Cape Canaveral for re-use. It also mentions the reusable booster being developed by Blue Origin.

“For NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to remain competitive as a national, licensed, orbital spaceport, it is important for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to undertake an environmental impact study related to landing space launch booster rockets at the facility and to update its assessment related to human space flight from the facility,” the resolution states.

Wallops Island is used for launching sounding rockets and Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares medium-lift booster.