McGregor Changes SpaceX Rocket Testing Rules

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)
Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

The McGregor City Council has passed a series of ordinances limiting rocket motor testing at the SpaceX facility located just outside of the city.

The ordinance also limits acceptance tests to 15-seconds or less and says that if noise limits of 125 decibels are exceeded, the test must be curtailed within 3 seconds.

Testing also is generally restricted between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and all tests involving a rocket motor that generates 2 million pounds of thrust must be conducted during daylight hours.

The previous agreement allowed for testing as late as 10 p.m.

In certain instances late night tests can be permitted after payment of a $10,000 fee for the first test in any calendar year and $15,000 for the second test….

In addition, the actual launching of any vehicle into the atmosphere or into space is specifically prohibited at the McGregor facility.

Fines for violations of the ordinances are: $10,000 for the first violation, $15,000 for the second and $25,000 for any subsequent violations.

The new regulations require permits for each test that exceeds certain decibel levels.

  • Exceeding 115 decibels: $5,000
  • Exceeding 120 decibels: $7,500
  • Exceeds 125 decibels: $50,000

SpaceX officials agreed to the changes in the ordinances. The city of McGregor has leased more than 4,200 acres of land to SpaceX for rocket motor testing.