The SpaceX application has been withdrawn by USACE to expand the Starship Texas facility

The Starship Prototype 20 is stacked on top of the Super Heavy Booster 4 at the company’s convenience in Boca Chika, Texas.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has withdrawn SpaceX’s request to expand the launch facility at Boca Chika, Texas, because the agency failed to provide environmental information, according to documents obtained by CNBC.

SpaceX sought approval to build a new launch pad, new landing pads and other launch-related infrastructure that would support its existing reusable launch vehicle activities at the South Texas facility.

The expansion will be built on about 17 acres of land, including wetlands and mud flats.

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for overseeing wetland development under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. In this role, the corps ensures that developers do not harm natural resources and drinking water, or put pressure on endangered species and their habitats when alternative sites or methods may be used instead.

In a letter to SpaceX dated March 7, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated that, after repeated requests for specific environmental impact information, Elon Musk’s aerospace enterprise had failed to say how it would be able to create its facilities separately, or not. It can detect them elsewhere to reduce damage to wetlands, water and wildlife. Verge has previously reported withdrawal.

The company noted that on February 10, 2022, Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, held a press conference in which he explained that if regulatory approvals in Texas did not go ahead, the company would be allowed to expand its Starship and Super Heavy Rocket tests and launch soon. Gives. , He will transfer a large portion of SpaceX operations to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

If that were to happen, Musk said at the time, SpaceX would turn its Boka Chika resources into another research and development hub.

Corps told SpaceX that it could restart its application if it still wants to expand the vertical launch area. Corps did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether SpaceX responded to or submitted information requested last month. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a parallel review process, an environmental engineer who blogged under the ESG Hound Handle reported that the US Fish and Wildlife Service had expressed similar concerns. FWS submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration that SpaceX did not provide sufficient environmental information to approve the expansion in Boca Chia.

SpaceX has completed multiple high-altitude flight tests with its Starship prototypes, but its next major step is to reach space. Starship is the spacecraft that the company is building to launch to Mars one day. The company’s starship progress was delayed on multiple fronts last year, and an orbital flight test is now awaiting regulatory approval.

SpaceX still requires a license from the Federal Aviation Administration to proceed with flight testing, and a separate, original environmental assessment is still pending.

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