- Parabolic Arc
- June 2, 2023
Report: SpaceX’s Boca Chica Plans Face Serious Objections from FWS, NPS
by Douglas Messier
ESG Hound’s latest look SpaceX’s plan to launch Super Heavy/Starship boosters from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas suggests the entire effort might need to be scrapped. (The US Department of Interior Drops the Gauntlet on SpaceX and the FAA: SpaceX is headed for an EIS)
The problem: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Park Service do not agree that launching the world’s most powerful rocket will have a non-significant impact on federal and state-managed wildlife refuges and national monuments that surround the Boca Chica launch site. Without their sign off, ESG Hound says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can’t approve the plan using an ongoing environmental assessment that it aims to complete by Jan. 31. A more complicated and lengthy environmental review would be required, resulting in years of delays.
Further, if SpaceX has viable alternatives for Super Heavy/Starship launches in Florida, the company might be required to abandon the Starbase site in Texas. Developing news facilities could result in significant delays to Super Heavy/Starship and the Human Landing System that SpaceX is building for NASA to return astronauts to the lunar surface.
Confused? Let’s review a little bit of history first.
The Best Laid Plans…
After performing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the FAA approved SpaceX to launch up to a dozen Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets annually from the site. The approval also allowed Elon Musk’s company to perform flights of experimental vehicles.
SpaceX subsequently abandoned plans for the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy and began testing Starship prototypes with three engines. The FAA allowed the testing, but the agency decided that a new environmental review was required in order to approve Boca Chica for launches of Starship and its Super Heavy first stage, which would have up to 33 engines.
The question was, what type of environmental review? As ESG Hound explains:
As a summary, the debate up to this point has been whether the environmental impacts of Starbase’s future plans are below significance thresholds under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FAA and SpaceX’s Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) is a stripped-down environmental review document built on the assumption that all impacts are either insignificant (de minimus) or can be mitigated to be such once the EA is finalized with a Finding of Non-Significant Impact (FONSI) statement from the FAA.
If any impacts are determined to be of significance, the FAA is required to initiate a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which would be a multi-year process. An EIS would be required to be drafted, reviewed, completed, and certified before any Heavy Booster static fires, Starship launches, or commitment to further launch infrastructure development can commence.…
The location SpaceX selected for its Starbase, designed to launch people to Mars on the most powerful rocket ever developed, is in a middle of some very sensitive environmental areas.
In case you weren’t aware, Starbase is surrounded on all sides by hundreds of acres of federal wildlife refuge, in addition to nearby National Park Service protected monuments (Palmito Hill Battlefield Memorial) and Texas Parks and Wildlife lands.
The problem is that FWS — which has jurisdiction over the federal wildlife refuge — and the National Park Service do not concur with the FAA’s conclusions that the impacts of Super Heavy/Starship rockets will be insignificant (de minimus) or that Starbase qualifies as “temporary occupancy” under federal law. The article says that both agencies must agree in writing under Department of Transportation (DOT) statute known as Section 4(f).
In November, the Department of the Interior (DOI) sent the FAA a joint letter from FWS and the National Park Service explaining why they don’t agree. (The letter and related documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act request.) The article excerpted highlights from the DOI letter:
These on-going closures extend beyond temporary Section 4(f) property use that is typically considered under Section 4(f) under DOT modal administration Section 4(f) regulations at 23 CFR 774.13(d).
Closure of Palmito Ranch Battlefield NHL to the public 11.4% of the year for launch operations (which does not include closures related to anomalies of up to an additional 6.8% per year) would impair public access to the NHL on a continual basis, and thus contribute to a Section 4(f) use. Restrictions to access substantially diminish the utility of the NHL (visitor use, education, and enjoyment) and thus reduce the ability to meet the NHL’s purpose.
…further analysis of the temporary on-going impact of the Project from closures on established purposes of the NWR, such as on 3 recreation and wildlife management, and anomaly events that result in debris on the NWR that will need to be removed, is warranted given the extensive interference and substantial impairment caused by access restrictions that will be permanent during Project operations. The FWS believes that a Section 4(f) use exists and requests FAA provide further clarification.
SpaceX appears to be a permanent facility. As such, continued closures of the road prevent public access to NWR lands and prevent staff and researchers from accessing lands they manage. This adversely and permanently impairs FWS attributes and protected activities as long as SpaceX continues to frequently close State Highway 4. This should be addressed as something other than a temporary or de minimis impact because it is part of a permanent operation plan.
“Occupancy of the Section 4(f) properties would be short term, and there would no permanent or residual effects to the properties lasting beyond occupancy.”
Comment: 100% of scattered debris has not been retrieved. Sharp metal parts can be found below the sand and may not be visible during retrieval of debris. In addition, ruts on algal flats do not recover very easily. The SpaceX contract environmental cleanup should use only specialized personnel and equipment designed to protect and restore the sensitive habitat types found in the area. The Space X should not be allowed to prohibit FWS staff, TPWD staff, NPS staff, or other agency representatives and their researchers to enter to collect biological and cultural resource data even during closures, and ensure SpaceX contract or fund collection of data on impacts to sensitive habitat types and wildlife species impacted by anomalies.
In other words, ESG Hound wrote
The DOI flatly rejects nearly every single Section 4(f) de minimus and temporary occupancy determination. Their sign-off, in writing, is required by statute for FAA to approve the Section 4(f) determination.
FAA’s guidance states that “When a project would involve the use of a Section 4(f) property and the FAA cannot make a de minimis impact determination, the FAA must prepare a Section 4(f) evaluation.”
The FAA cannot make a de minimus determination, because they don’t have approval from the DOI to do so. That means that this is an EIS project.
As mentioned, a full EIS of the Boca Chica plan would take several years, thus delaying SpaceX’s development of Super Heavy/Starship and the company’s plans to adapt Starship to serve as the Human Landing System (HLS) for NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the moon in 2025.
But, here’s the kicker. According the ESG Hound article
Not only are FAA’s hands tied on the EIS front, a full Section 4(f) Evaluation is a potential nightmare. This evaluation requires the identification of a suitable alternative that is both “Feasible and Prudent.” If this Feasible and Prudent alternative site will have a lower Section 4(f) impact, the FAA is prohibited from giving the Green Light to Starbase. At all. This is outside of NEPA as well. So if, for example, the Cape Canaveral LC 39 pad that SpaceX is developing is determined to be a feasible and prudent alternative, Starbase is dead. Dead Dead.
SpaceX is working developing a Super Heavy/Starship launch complex near Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There do not seem to be any serious obstacles to that project. A SpaceX proposal to build an additional complex to be designated Pad 40 north of that location has raised concerns among environmental groups.
It will be interesting to see if FWS and the National Park Service bow to political pressure and change their positions. No matter what the FAA does with regard to Boca Chica, the decision is likely to end up in court as a result of environmental groups objecting to an approval or SpaceX appealing the need for a full EIS. Court challenges would result in their own delays.
224 responses to “Report: SpaceX’s Boca Chica Plans Face Serious Objections from FWS, NPS”
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Agreat win for China in its goal to beat the US in space.
Consideration should be given to limited duration for development of Starship then moving to another site if long term use cannot be managed with acceptable environmental impact.
And another setback for the poor folks in the Rio Grande Valley who will lose thousands in good paying jobs. If I was the mayor of Brownsville I would be on the phone to both Senators and the local Representative reminding them those laid off workers, and their families, vote.
If there are 2,000 workers employed by SpaceX and each is making around $60,000 a year with overtime, that is $120 million dollars direct lost. Add a RIMS II multiplier, say 2.5, and you are looking at a $300 million hit to one of the poorest regions of the nation because a couple of government agencies are more worried about what some elite out of state birdwatchers and environmentalists want rather than the local population.
that is all he is paying those folks? the guy across the road from my farm said they were low but that low?
He welds on water towers and clears 100K
the rest of your figures are absurd
They are guesses based on average data for the region. If he is paying twice as much than the economic impact will be twice as large.
its probably close. Musk is a low baller on paying his help
Starship is just beautiful renders and nothing else. The Chinese land on Mars, the Moon, they built an orbital station, while Musk only promises.
There is a starship SITTING ON THE PAD WAITING TO LAUNCH but tell us more fantasies, Wumao.
It has been standing there for months and it can’t take off because they can’t finish it. They have constant problems with the engines and the heat shield.
What? It can’t take off because of literally what this article is about. Did you even read it before starting your nonsense?
no its simply not ready to take off
Wins as most ludicrously wrong post on this thread. And that’s saying a lot.
It looks more like the FWS and NPS are bowing to political pressures from the environmental lobbyists to stop SpaceX.
Sounds to me like they’re doing their job and following law. You warned of this years ago and saw it coming. Your arguments years ago were right along with what is being said here. . SpaceX has been getting special treatment for years at this site, and likely will continue to do so. What’s being said here is Space X won’t be doing regular launches from this site of this vehicle without a new EIS. There will be occasional tests of experimental vehicles.
This will get messy as the Texas political establishment realize the dollars at stake. Never mind the interest of the military and the spooks.
According to the learned folks in the NSF forum. ESG Hound have very little credibility.
The guy is a zealot and he opposes what many of us support, so it is tempting to paint him as a bit of a nut job, but none of that means he’s wrong or that his concerns are unfounded. In any case, stymieing industrialization in that region is his avocation, so he probably does have contacts in the Federal Agencies in question.
The cover name they use to hide their true identity says it all as ESG is an acronym for Environment concerns, Social concerns and Governance concerns that was developed by “Social Justice Warriors” to symbolize their campaign against the “evil” corporations that created the technology the modern world enjoys.
So clearly their goal, if they are an individual or are actually a group, is to hound Elon Musk and SpaceX.
It is a pity that reporters like Doug fall for their strategy and give them the publicity they seek.
you have to be kidding this morning. gee that is a post out of Monty python
that scene from the Untochables comes to mind “Heh whats the deal we paid off the local cops”
But isn’t that what advocacy politics is all about? Imposing the will of the minority on the majority? Something the GOP and the Democratic party are both very well versed in, and the system is structured to support and encourage. You as a professor should understand that advocacy politics assumes that this is how any system that is predicated on individualism is going to work. Stop complaining when your opposition plays by the rules of the system if not your own personal rules you’d rather they behave by and advocate for. It teaches the kind of bad sportsmanship that ruining American politics today.
Just because everyone does it doesn’t make it ethical, which is what I actually teach my students. That way they learn to think for themselves.
In the constant fight for liberty and ‘justice’ the minority imposing its will in the majority is the right thing to do. The majority is usually wrong when it comes to civil liberties. There’s no closed form solution.
Last I looked it was the space advocates that were in the minority while environmentalists are everywhere. Just compare membership in environmental groups versus space group. So in this case it is the majority, “environmentalists” using the system to impose their will on the minority “space advocates”.
Look at it from their POV, tooled up flush with cash and a solid community of advocates, their enemies are out to do evil things to nature. Everyone always puts themselves as the victim of overbearing badness.
Yes, these environmental groups are flush with money and full of lawyers who seem to hate humans.
They hate and feel victimized by humans like you, in a very similar way you feel victimized and threatened by people like them. You provoke each other.
Since I am a member of the human species I am for the humans. By contrast many of the environmentalists would prefer humans went extinct.
Go do a search on the terms “Deep Green Resistance” and “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement” and then tell me they are the “good guys”.
That BTW may be the answer to the Fermi Paradox, the “environmentalists” on those worlds succeeded in driving their species to extinction before it expanded into space.
Going to Mars does not stop human extinction.
Although Elon Musk may be focusing on Mars, the Starship series of rockets will make access to the Moon easier, the first step in establishing human communities beyond the Earth.
Even if Starship turns out impractical for beyond LEO missions, if Musk still succeeds in reducing the cost of spaceflight to just LEO by two orders of magnitude, that achievement will open up the Solar System to humanity.
LEO is halfway to anywhere else within the Solar System.
$L$ delenda est
That BTW may be the answer to the Fermi Paradox, the “environmentalists” on those worlds succeeded in driving their species to extinction before it expanded into space.
No one escapes their grasp, not if they can help it.
Oh, that’s pathetic. Come on. you can do better. Do you have any positive indication that any of those movements are pushing this environmental review forward?
That is clear. But it may also be true that the hounding bears fruit, that the tiresome braying of the zealots keeps us honest, that as a result, environmental admonitions get enforced that otherwise wouldn’t and less damage is done along the way toward pursuing the singular focus of a great man who lacks nothing but ruth. Every environmental regulation gores someone’s ox, but that is a poor argument for heedlessly despoiling our environment and killing off all the fauna. The ESGs of the world sometimes serve a useful purpose.
Except that actual experience at the existing spaceports and rocket test facilities like the Cape, WSMR, VSFB shows that spaceports benefit wildlife by keeping people away.
MOST launch facilities are low volume operations.. a dozen a year from anything but main falcon launch point would be a banner year. Starship wants 24 a year then ramp from there. Starship is bigger and therefore louder by a large factor over average rocket.
Which doesn’t change anything as the wildlife is mostly in the safety buffer zone, so it doesn’t matter if there are daily launches.
More launched more traffic , bigger rockets wider area of very loud noise, more accidental pollution, more everything. So the peaceful quiet 350 days a year would not exist at space port
You seem to be miss the point that that activity only takes places on a limited portion of the land area. Spaceport America has around 18,000 acres of land, but only about 3,000 acres, and that is probably a high estimate, have any activity. The rest is off limits to humans, even birdwatchers, which is the way wildlife like it. If anything the more activity there is at a spaceport, the more use the wildlife will get to the noise and more likely ignore it as unimportant.
Their claims are not unfounded. He has spread misinformation intentionally many times in the past so far.
The reality is we have no idea who esghound is because they are hiding their identity. They may be any individual, or any group, anywhere in the world. That basically means no one knows if their real agenda is the one they claim, or if they have the experience or knowledge they claim to have. In the past reporters vented their sources to determine their credibility and identity, a level of professionalism that is missing today.
Yes, the regular launches will need to go offshore. If SpaceX has to do an EIS it should be for the offshore locations, not Boca Chica.
Interestingly SPadre Twitter posted a nice map showing the old abandoned town sites, resorts and the military fort that used be at Boca Chica, before hurricanes wiped them out. That area has not been a “pristine habitat” since the 1840’s.
SpaceX put out an official policy stating that they were going to conduct launches every two weeks of this vehicle. I think this is a shot across the bow letting SpaceX know it won’t be from this site. Offshore is the way to go with space launch on this scale. SpaceX has known that since day 1 of this program. We saw it in their animations.
Those animations were for point to point intercontinental travel between the world’s major cities (most of which would not be found on a notional ITAR white list). But the fact that SpaceX acquired those two oil rigs does telegraph that they have been conscious of the uncertainty of their future at Boca Chica.
It seems that things are about to get interesting. SpaceX needs to up their lobbying game.
Of course SpaceX will lobby, and of course it will have effect. But think about it, if ANY part of SS/SH should be covered by ITAR it’s the point to point option.
the problem is that this is the federal government. in Texas its easy. do you know what the idfference is between a Republican state elected official and a Dem one?
the GOP person you can just give cash to. the Dem it has to be for a good cause 🙂 at least on paper
For sure lobbying is needed, but ever since this all first started I have felt that SpaceX should also take some proactive measures, like working with environmental groups and find out if there are any projects that SpaceX could do in the area that have not been done due to lack of funding. This would at least help in the PR department, like they did with their proactive actions with Starlink after concerns were raised about negative effects on astronomy. Their willingness to at least do something about it really seemed to greatly reduce many of the complaints.
The FWS seems particularly irked about restrictions to their staff’s access to NWR areas. So tell the FWS anytime they need to get through to give us a ring and we’ll escort you through the closure, assuming it’s a safe time to do so. Considering that much of the time during road closures nothing much is actually going on. And if that means maybe slightly delaying a static fire until the FWS people have passed through, that would go a long way towards building some good will. And I bet it wouldn’t happen that often anyway.
Currently though they seem to be going down the same path as they did with Boca Chica Village, where SpaceX came across as coldhearted. I don’t think they actually were, and I know they offered much more than market value for those homes, but in hindsight they could have done things slightly differently and maybe not have created a bad impression. I don’t know, maybe they could have let the people go find some place they want to move to, and unless it’s something crazy like a mansion, just go ahead and buy it for them. Yes I know SpaceX is not necessarily overflowing with cash, but they stand to eventually make a lot of money, and some of this type of charitable activity might be a good long term investment.
The problem is that you are just not able to work with some environmentalists as they just hate technology and business. Also I suspect the problem is not the local groups as much as locals fronting for out of state groups that suddenly “discovered” the “beautiful” wilderness beach and see the “fight” as an opportunity for funding raising
A long term solution to working with FWS would be simply for the State of Texas, which actually owns the land, to simply withdraw the Boca Chica section from the federal wildlife refuge. Then FWS wouldn’t need access anymore.
I agree this doesn’t guarantee that this would actually satisfy all or any of these people, although it might have an influence on the more reasonable people within those groups. But what is most important is that it gives them a better public image. Any group opposed to what they are doing has an advantage if there is a public perception that SpaceX is greedy. Public perception on the astronomy issue seems to be that SpaceX is concerned about it and doing something to mitigate the issue. I think it would be helpful if they were able to create a similar perception in this situation.
Compromise with environmental groups has not been a very successful tactic for development projects. You can never get *all* of them to agree, and there is a ‘once you pay the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane’ quality. A pity, because in a more reasonable world, that’s clearly the path to a Pareto-optimal solution, but a predictable consequence of moving the decision making for local projects to national authorities.
this is why we have laws, regulations and agencies that enforce it. Its not the cafeteria style of “this is good or this is not”. it is “does it measure up to the rules and regulations and procedures
AND I guess that is what bothers me most of all
Musk is like all rich people (and corporations) he thinks for the most part the rules dont apply to him. he has enough money, enough super cool stuff, is going to make it up by “changing humanity for the good” that well he cannot be bothered with doing right because it is right
a close second is that Musk isnt really doing that much. OK he pays less in percentages I suspect then I do on my income taxes or my corporate taxes (I own a large cattle farm and between it and my day job make well over 1 million a year). so he gets up and says “I am saving humanity”
NO HE ISNT. Musk wants starship to deploy star link. not to go to Mars. the fan boys buy that hype but there is no amount of significant money being spent to go to Mars.
there is a lot more money to get a starship that travels will in interplanetary space and lands and takes off on mars and lands back on earth. Sure everyone thinks they are the same vehicle…but they are not
what he wants is the business effort of Starlink. so dont go off with “he is making humans a multi planet species” thats just BS
he tried an end run around the regulators and it blew up on him. lol
Wow, hate much? You make a $1M straight off the govt tit and you’re complaining about musk?? BTW, he wasn’t all that rich until hehe got Tesla and SpaceX going. For that matter, almost all of his assets are tied in those companies.
Yes, when Elon Musk first reached Silicon Valley he was too poor to rent an apartment and slept in his office in a sleeping bag while washing up at a near by gym. From that low point in the 1990’s he has become the richest person in the world.
He didn’t have all the benefits Robert had with a ranch and family fortune going back to the days of the Texas Republic.
I remember when such rags to riches stories were celebrated in America.
Musk misjudged Biden and Trump. He thought Dems wpuld be on board with Musk saving the Environment, and the Human Species.
Elon thought Trump was too much of a Business Man. Biden snubbed the World’s Number One Producer of EV’s, and Trump said,”Elon Musk is a National Treasure and should be protected.
no one who has money thinks trump is a business man. they see him as a con man as for saving the human race LOL
Anyone with eyes to see knows Trump is con man.
P. T. Barnum
lol we have gotten as a society a little more sophisticated. the rags to riches loses something when you step on endless people doing it
Sounds just like old money talking about new money. ?
The other option, that he has provided value to society via PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, just doesn’t apply does it.
no he still needs to follow the rules…what is so hard about that?
Any evidence that he is breaking them? He is waiting on the FAA for the launch license.
The only hang up appears to be that the FWS is trying to block it over some land that it only has jurisdiction over because the State of Texas, in order to save money, turned over to them to manage.
the only thing I “get” off the government is my double dip retirement. and yes I earned it
Right. No crop subsidies for your $1M farm?
Oh Horse Hockey Mildred said Colonel Potter! You don’t know the first thing about the environment, Areospace R&D and its contribution to the Environment. I worked as a Scientific & Technical Photographer and Cinimatographer at China Lake NWC Space Wars Command. I worked with Bing Crosby’s Daughter, Linda Lou Crosby on Environmental Wild Life Documentaries that led to curbing the Extinction of many Birds, The Grey Wolf, Hawks, Wild Horses Fish, Eagles, and Hawks. You see bcz Federal Government uses vast amounts of Protected Land ajacent to Areospace Faciliries and Testing Ranges. Believee when I tell you and Chuck Yeager would tell if he were alive that we are more protective of the Environment.I would say more than Barack Obama, AOC or Bill Gates ? claims to.
Starship is ridiculously overpowered as a comsat launching vehicle. If just launching satellite constellations were his focus, he could have made a much better business case developing a New Glenn sized fully reusable launcher.
thats not true. first off neither of us knows what Starship actually carries. Musk is very quiet on the dry mass…and until one knows that one has no real clue what the payload is.
second Musk is trying to deploy massive amounts of birds with each flight. see what happens but this vehicle has no chance of going to or coming back from Mars…none
Spoken with great confidence from a man who admits he doesn’t even know Starship’s payload capabilities.
no one does 🙂 there are endless claims out there…but what they capabilities actually are is impossible to know. 🙂
Of course, it is a private firm, so why should they publish anything yet? Be grateful Elon Musk is tweeting as much as he is on it.
Of course, it is only Starship 1.1. It will take a few iterations before it’s ready for the Moon let alone Mars.
This smells like the competition is trying to stall SpaceX long enough to get their own ships to orbit first but aren’t actually building anything even remotely competitive.
Space X stepped on a lot of small groups toes to get to a spot so they could ignore the normal restrictions that slow stuff to a crawl. This is vengeance of those people.
Are their complaints valid in cost benefit analysis, likely not. But, it is how the world works.
I dont like it. to make the changes to the airport we had to do the entire survey…Musk can do it as well
What “small groups?” Musk has undeniably stepped on the toes of some big groups – like the entire legacy auto and aerospace industries.
Do a little research this is not some great conspiracy against your beloved Space X it is mainly NIMBY and environmentalist
Tell me about it. Some of them are so bad as to want water coming off a property to be cleaner than the rainfall that fell on it. And go to court to block anything else but their way.
If it weren’t for Musk, there would have been a lot of dead turtles when the electricity went out last winter.
I would need to check, but SpaceX can not do static fires or any number of destructive tests with non spaceX people nearby. Furthermore, SpaceX is not stopping FWS personnel from doing anything. SpaceX is on private property – not on gov’t property. The complaint is that Rt4 is basically closed down whenever SpaceX moves any rockets.
Well obviously I wasn’t talking about doing a static fire while FWS people are traipsing around nearby. In fact neither can SpaceX people be close to the launch pads during that time. I was only talking about the road closures. I’m assuming there might be areas that FWS wants to go to that require passing by the launch pads, but the road is closed so they can’t get by and they have no other way to get to where they want to go. I don’t think they clear everyone from all of the beaches during static fires, only during launches. Although obviously if someone goes to the beach prior to road closure then they might be stuck for several hours until the road opens again, unless some nice SpaceX employee allows them to pass through the closure so they can get out.
Even though we never know when exactly they will be doing a static fire, SpaceX certainly does, and my point is that with a little bit of communication and some “VIP treatment”, FWS might be able to get to where they want to go most of the time. Now if on a particular day FWS is wanting to go somewhere that is too close, and they won’t be done with whatever they are doing in time, SpaceX could offer to delay the test for a couple of hours or whatever time is needed. My point is I bet that rarely if ever happens because FWS is probably blowing smoke and rarely needs to access these areas, thus SpaceX offering to be super accommodating will only make SpaceX look good, while having little effect on either the test schedule or FWS’s ability to do whatever it is they do in the NWR areas.
And anyway it was just an example. The actual details, most of which we aren’t privy to, affect how well any particular example works.
The only time the road is closed is when they are doing something potentially explosive or they are moving rockets. SpaceX only controls access to SpaceX property – none of which is leased from the gov’t. The mitigation offered in the PEA is a series of cutouts for the crawler to move over and let traffic go bye. Frankly, the FWS complaint makes very little sense.
Musk pays the constables to close the road.
Really? You should know that they report and are accountable to the County Judge.
lol Constables have one purpose in the state of Texas and that is to serve warrants. civil warrants. they are armed for self defense but that is it. they subsidize themselves by farming out the psuedo law enforcement roles. want a police escort for your wedding so the red lights will flash? Drop about 400 USD at the local constable and there you are. ccounty judges…dont make me laugh
Did you perhaps have a point? That is pretty much the way it works everywhere. In fact, the one time SpaceX got in trouble for closing a road, it was because their own security did it.
yeah the point is that Musk has been very successful in buying off state and local officials. he is having a harder time buying off the feds. As I told a local mayor in Texas once. “with me you are messing with the g, and thats not going to work out well …for you”
my point is that the road closures are part of the agreement in terms of how often they are closed. I think Musk has been violating that.
I suppose that you have evidence of him buying them off? Or is it they are just serving the folks that elected them by encouraging the economic development he is bringing to one of the poorest regions of the nation.
It is also not surprising that you would be the type of official that gives the federal government a bad name by throw your weight around to impose your will on some small town instead of working to find common ground.
Depends on how you do the counting. The County would seem to disagree with your version of counting.
Out of curiosity, how has he been buying off State and local officials? He can’t outright bribe them as that eventually shows up and gets people put in jail. He doesn’t really do a lot in the way of political campaign contributions either (which also shows up).
the road closures are easy. about 400 dollars to the constables
I think retirement has eaten your brain.
sadly not retired. 🙂 thanks for playing
So you’re a liar too? Elsewhere you state that you are double dipping in your retirement (or words to that effect).
I am double dipping, but have moved on to another position, in fact by this time in my life another position after that 🙂 keep on moving. expertise is valuable and I have kids to support fly safe
I like the fact that people like you are helping me enjoy my lifestyle. including gasp free health care 🙂 keep paying
Elon can cash in some Dogee Coin to create another Park. Dems are way too sensitive worried about their feelings and how a few are affected by adverse conditions of any kind while thinking about the greater good if HumanKind.
Or does testing.
Elon was smart enough to hire my old friend, and Navy Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot, Scientist, Engineer, and Astronaut, Ken “Sox” Bowersox to be his COO to get Space X off the ground.
Sox is a Rock Star Astronaut who thinks out of the Box lobbied w NASA. We were in the origional Navy USAF Space Wars Command w the DOD & NASA before the Space Force.
He is a Humanitarian, Rocket Scientist, and gets along with everyone. Musk needs to give Sox a call to assist with Lobbying again.
The Musk email said they need to achieve a Starship flight rate of once every two weeks, but not necessarily 26 flights since the rate could be achieved for one month as opposed to the whole year. They would have to get approved for 26+ orbital launches, and that will take some time. Offshore will take quite some time.
To support a flight rate of every 14 days a LOT of infrastructure has to go in. At this point, that likely won’t happen so the launch rate out of BC is going to be much lowers, more like a …. test schedule.
The infrastructure is mentioned in the PEA. The PEA also states that further permitting and review will be needed for individual projects.
But all our monuments are preserving our history, and must be protected at all costs by the government. Like statues, etc.
And 4′ high stone markers in a field.
Oh so you tear down Statues of Abraham Lincoln who freed the Slaves, and George Washington who owned Slaves but mended his ways because he fought ? for We the People so we could have the Greatest Nation on Earth. But, you’re gonna whine over a small area in Freaking Big Ass Texas? Really!
Have youeven been to Texas? Do you know how big Texas is?
The Moon, Mars, and the Galaxies are much bigger than Texas.
Palmitto Hill is, literally, 9 miles away from the Starbase launch facility. Is there some other monument closer in that I’m not aware of?
exactly what they are doing
You’re either an infant or a paid shill.
Yeah, that Filthy Rich Musk is not Marxist enough for your Demogog Beurocrats.
The Nerve of that guy who reinvests at his own risk all of his money to improve the entire Planet’s Environment ?
with EV’s Lithium Batteries, Eliminating a large degree of C02 Foot Print, Solar Power, and the hundreds of other Human Race Saving Inventions Elon ccomes up with that Bill Gates or AOC will ever come ? up with.
Take a look at the quality of the posts on this forum and then ask yourself if anything you just said here is really worth responding to. Take a look Matula’s and “The Eagle’s” posts here. They agree with you and have made all your points before, but are articulate enough to make a logical point and construct a good argument. Heck, I don’t even disagree with some of your points and would go into that with you, if you were not such a dullard in your other ‘points’. Go back to your Q Anon threads on Reddit, that’s where you belong. let us know when JFK Jr shows up in Dallas.
Elon Musk is a self proclaimed Socialist. He is also a devoted Environmentalist.
But that’s not enough for these people. These people are not just Environmentalists.
These people are Malthusianists and anti-humanists. Their goal is not to conserve wildlife (Starbase becoming operational would greatly improve biodiversity in Boca Chica, as it would prevent most human access to the beach) Their goal is to reduce the human footprint as much as possible, whatever the cost.
They see humanity as a virus, a disease which will exponentially consume the precious naturalism they worship.
They falsely see a world where resources are something that cannot be created, something “given” to them by “nature” and that “nature” “replenishes” it over a certain amount of time.
Therefore they believe that human aspirations must be crushed to the point they meet the limitations of Earths “natural resources”
This means reducing the human footprint by any means possible.
Over the years this has meant intentionally quartering the poor together as close as possible and removing sanitation in order to induce plague (Classical Malthusianism) systemized industrial murder (Nazism) systemized forced sterilizations (Ehrlichianism) and modernity’s various forms of Neo Malthusianism.
Bingo, that is a good description of the Deep Green Resistance environmentalists.
A world where biodiversity is rising, dead zones are shrinking, and land-based cultures grounded in human rights and a sustainable relationship with the planet arise and flourish.
In short: a world without industrial civilization.”
they are doing their jobs. the job they are suppose to do. You saw this coming, musk should have. but he was quite sure he could buy off texas politicans which is not hard (a lot of people do that) but its harder when you “mess with the G”
Musk is where he is because he wants to be a little king there where he can drop a hundred or a hundred K here and there and the constables close the roads and the local pols look the other way. he cannot do that in FL. I am all for this. he should follow the law like we all do
his rocket is not going to be that great. Its going to be an improvement but it wont be what all the fan boys are saying
The B247 wasn’t all that great but it led the way over 35 years to the modern airliner. You seem to want a finished project when it is still a work in progress and will be for decades.
The B247 was not in production for 35 years…models evolved.
Which is exactly what is going to happen with Starship. Already they are moving on to Raptor 2 for it. Then flight experience will evolve the design to Raptor 3 and beyond.
While even Elon Musk has even tweeted that Starship is an intermediary design and that a Starship 2 will be larger with an 18 meter diameter faring.
at what point do you think that they get a vehicle that is capable of reusability on both stages and deploying Starlink?
then how long after that do you think that they get to one that can land on Mars, taken off and come back to earth? curious what you think those numbers are
For the first it will be perhaps be a year or so if the FAA approves the license.Two to three if he has to abandon Boca Chica and go elsewhere.
In the case of going to Mars and returning it will likely be a decade or so since revenue won’t be pushing it. The Moon will also be the first goal since the Dear Moon mission and NASA are paying for it.
The Party is suspicious that Musk might be right-of-center, so they send their bureaucrats after the man.
Maybe if Musk does some more liberal stuff, the Party/Government Bureaucrats will allow him to continue to advance our science and technology…
This administration hates musk for whatever reason. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is political.
Elon needs to throw his clout into getting rid of the current administration. Crushing environmental rules are a hallmark of liberal governance. (even though the EPA was started under Nixon).
Remember, saving nature started out as a Republican cause in the 19th Century, and was a mostly Republican cause until the anti-war activists took it over after “Earth Day” in 1970. Before then environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Audubon Society actually supported utilities building nuclear power plants to end pollution from fossil fuels.
yes a rich guy overturning the will of the people in a democracy thats great
When did you do a survey or canvas and get the results that more people want to stop starbase than agree with it? Democracy says the many not the few prevail, no?
Can you support with verified numbers? I’ll wait….
I was responding to “get rid of the current administration” that won the most votes in both the popular and the EC
I dont care much about how many people want Elon or dont want Elon. there is a process to follow and he should have to follow it like I did in terms of getting the airport on my farm upgraded.
dont you think so?
I don’t see where ANYONE suggested anything other than following the process. We’ll get rid of Biden administration the same way we got rid of the terrible Carter administration. — vote the morons out. Let’s go, Brandon!
lol how does Elon throw his clout (whatever it is) behind getting rid of the current administration? they are there until 20 Jan 2025 no matter what (unless convicted of an impeachable crime)
who is Brandon? is this another right wing fantasy?
No sh**, Sherlock! They’re there until the next election. Did ANYONE suggest throwing them out before the election? No, they did not.
And I cannot believe anyone who pays any attention to the news is so utterly clueless that they don’t know anything about, “Let’s go, Brandon,” and are too lazy to Google three words, and instead types nine words to still be clueless.
they are meaningless to me. all of the people who I see saying them are right wing trump nut jobs. trump people are some of the strangest people outside of a lunatic asylum fly safe
It means “f*ck Joe Biden”
So this is really not unexpected. SpaceX should have realised the risks inherent in setting up their shop in this area particularly with their expansion plans in mind.
No one exists in isolation so maintaining and enhancing our natural environment is essential to the wellbeing of the human race.
Not popular opinion I know and I am a SpaceX admirer but the original decision to set up shop here was flawed from the get go.
I fail to see how Superheavy+Starship damage the environment. How has Cape Canaveral space facilities damaged the wetlands surrounding it? Not one Whit. Let’s face it, with the pinheads at FWS and NPS now, they’d have struggled mightily to prevent Cape Canaveral from have ever being built. BANANA — Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. The main beneficiaries will be China and Russia.
Yes, if NEPA existed in the 1950’s they would have still been doing the paperwork to launch the Saturn V.
Come on, stop being bombastic. You know that’s not true, history as you are well aware of has already proven you wrong and you knew it before you even wrote that. STS was far more environmentally damaging with its huge SRBs and the Shuttle’s flight rate was not set by the EPA. SLS likewise. Stop being the wounded soccer player faking an ankle wound trying to get the ref to red card the other side. You’re being pathetic here.
“Our two greatest problems are gravity and paper work. We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.”
Wernher von Braun
Sun Times (10 July 1958)
AGAIN history shows you are blowing this totally out of proportion. Name a flight Von Braun lost to regulatory paperwork. Name ONE. Stop being a pathetic victim and let the damn process work.
Ok so high levels of noise, traffic, various airborne pollutants etc are not a hazard to the natural environment? If you say so but I’d suggest that close environmental assessments on the various flora and fauna stocks may suggest otherwise.
But my observations are only from experience here in south-west Western Australia and to my disgust Oz is no shining example as a protector of the natural environment and once it’s gone it’s often gone for good ?
Yes, and that includes decades of raining toxic solid fuel exhaust which are acidic into the lagoons at the Cape every time a vehicle, like the Shuttle, launched. Unlike those old expendable rockets, and NASA’s brand new Moon rocket (SLS), there won’t be any fish kills or birds dying from the acid rain since the Starship/Super Heavy uses Methane.
yes lets compare a place where they have been launching for over half a centure and is a long distance from the nearest houses to one that hasnt and isnt
It’s NOT a long ways to the protected wetlands. Kennedy Space Center could not be built today if it were a private company like SpaceX doing it. How has KSC damaged the surrounding wetlands, and why would Boca Chica be any different?
one is the federal government and the other is a private company
Oh. Well THAT makes it all better then. </eyeroll>
yes. the sovereign responsible to us all and in our name. not so much with a private company
Yes, of course the federal government is always honest and above-board and never sleazy. </eyeroll>
So if the USSF takes over and makes Boca Chica a SFB the environmentalists will just go away?
I’d say rather that their decision to suddenly greatly expand the shop beyond what was approved in their initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was flawed from the get-go.
They should have either only expanded things gradually or begun work on a new EIS as soon as they made their plans for their former (and fully approved) relatively low use F/FH base being converted to a busy test range and busy “Starbase”.
The other logical mitigating action would have been to start development of an alternate facility(ies) sooner…
I’m pretty sure there no US coastal sites that wouldn’t face the exact same issues. I doubt there are any US sites at all that wouldn’t be opposed and mired in red tape. Unfortunately, due to ITAR, moving a couple miles south to Mexico isn’t an option, either.
It doesn’t have to be Musk leading the way. It could be Gonzales, Chan, Barnum, or someone who’s name I can’t pronounce from a territory we never suspected. And under conditions we doubt possible.
Consider the conditions under which the A4 was developed. Irrational and counterintuitive as all get out. And yet the foundation of much modern rocketry.
I was thinking of the site they are developing now, LC39A at Cape Canaveral. My point was that they should have started there earlier.
Meanwhile, they’re looking at an additional launch site at KSC (around where additional launch pads were initially planned to be put in for the Apollo Program). Another possibility, though for polar, sun-synchronous and retrograde orbits only, could be Vandenberg, which was originally planned to host Space Shuttle launches.
But yes, I agree that alternate launch sites are limited. Perhaps after a lot of experience, they can get permission to launch overland such as from Spaceport America in New Mexico
Or Elon Musk will see the USS Kitty Hawk as its towed into Brownsville for scrapping and buy it for an offshore test site…
I am sure the regulators saw it as an effort at an end run around them
It looks like the vaccine manufacturers have captured the federal regulators that oversee them. Elon should take a page out of Pfizer’s playbook and buy a few regulators.
Danegeld. Besides, parasites breed exponentially once you start feeding them.
Wrong. The EA made it clear there’re 3 possible outcomes: “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Mitigated FONSI, or issue a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS.”, so even if there is significant impact as long as it can be mitigated, an EIS would not be required.
Couldn’t be more wrong. Back in 2014 when the original EIS was issued, SpaceX also have the option to launch F9/FH from Cape Canaveral, yet they were still able to get an EIS for Boca Chica, so just because they can launch from else where does not mean they couldn’t have another launch site, that is frankly an absurd notion, because by this logic there would only be one launch site allowed in the entire US.
In the sentence previous to the one that you are quoting they did include the possibility that, “all impacts are either insignificant (de minimus) or can be mitigated to be such once the EA is finalized”. So in the next sentence when they said “If any impacts are determined to be of significance, the FAA is required to initiate a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)”, I took it that they referring to a situation where it is determined that it cannot be mitigated to become insignificant. Perhaps they could have spelled this out more to make it clear that they were not contracting themselves in adjacent sentences, but I don’t think that was really necessary.
In the case of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy they did not see any significant impacts. I’m pretty sure the article is referring to a situation where the concern level for Starship is very high, in which case the availability of an alternate site could lead to an adverse decision about Starbase. Although the wording is not as clear as it could be on that point so I can understand having a different read on it than I did. The article does at times have a slight emotional bent to it leading to some poor choices in wording, but otherwise seems to be a reasonable quick summary of a complex situation, and what SpaceX is up against.
In 2014, FWS concurred that the project as described wouldn’t constitute a section 4(f) use. This nullifies every single every point you made.
And yes, if the law was followed there would be zero new American spaceports built directly on a tiny parcel of land smack dab in the middle of National Wildlife Refuges. Thanks for clarifying that the law is a good thing
Exactly where do you think Canaveral is located?
Remember esghound claims they are from the oil and gas industry. So they likely have zero knowledge of the Cape, WSMR, VSFB or Spaceport America. That is why they are trying to claim this is some type of gas project. It’s probably the only thing that they know about.
SpaceX does have a gas project going on. Potentially 2 of them according to the PEA. The biggest one is the methane purification plant, which would take in natural gas and separate it into methane, ethane, butane, and propane. The last 3 gasses (plus however much more methane as needed) would be burned to produce electricity.
The other project is local gas field owned by a SpaceX subsidiary. The gas produced is not suitable for regular commercial purposes, however SpaceX isn’t trying to sell it and it can be refined into what they need. This particular project would require a new pipeline from the gas field to SpaceX’s separation plant.
Rockets need fuel. Look at all the petroleum chemical related facilities at the other spaceports. For that matter look at the pipelines and storage tanks associated with a major airport or military facility. That does not make either a spaceport or airport a petrochemical business.
I never said it did. OTOH, most airports and space ports do not not refine their own fuel.
And neither does Elon Musk if the environmentalists make an issue of it. He could just keep buying it and cause more greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere as a result since they seem to object to him looking for green solutions.
This is partially correct. The power plant was spec’d using Methane (eg Natural gas) as well however. Those residuals have to go somewhere. There’s no Y-grade pipeline so disposal and storage of NGLs and light ends is not discussed in the PEA either, which is another issue
Are you seriously going to try to convince people that a methane power plant can’t also burn ethane, butane, and propane? You do realize that power plants do not generally use highly refined natural gas?
They can, but that’s not what the PEA describes. The emissions (again in the PEA) are based on AP-42 emission factors for “natural gas,” which is the BTU of Methane +/- 10% or 95%+ methane by mass.
Oh and burning butanes and heavier would easily push annual VOC emissions above the 100 Ton Major source threshold, which… whoops makes the project impossible to Qualify as an EA
Turns out I’ve been doing this stuff for awhile.
How does burning butane and propane result in Volatile Organic Compounds?
Because combustion in a turbine isn’t 100% efficient. If you burn millions of pounds of it per year the residuals as VOC emissions.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk
And here I was hoping for something useful like a little chemistry. Something along the lines of propane + oxygen + nitrogen yields (insert the unknown VOCs).
Given your previous comments, I somehow doubt my knowledge of combustion stoichiometry and associated regulatory limits will break through. But ok!
Actually, no, they didn’t. This completely destroys your entire narrative, it’s pretty clear you didn’t even read the 2014 EIS, like I said earlier, you know nothing about the NEPA process, you know nothing about FAA regulations, and we now know you didn’t even read the documents for Boca Chica itself.
I note that none of the objections seem to have anything to do with actual harm to protected wildlife – quite reasonable in view of the obvious fact that the local wildlife have moved onto the SpaceX property in large numbers and that it is now likely their principal food source in the area.
The remaining complaints seem to be all about closure of Hwy. 4 and allegations of incomplete cleanup of scrap metal from prior tests. The latter “problem” could be easily mitigated by a one-time, shoulder-to-shoulder walk-down of the whole area by people with metal detectors and spades. My guess is that little of the resulting trove of metal would prove to be of SpaceX origin but would, instead, turn out to be the accumulated detritus of decades or centuries of metal scrap – including from Allied ships torpedoed in the Gulf by German U-boats during WW2 – that has been blown ashore by innumerable tropical storms and hurricanes.
As for the “tragedy” of touristas having a few percent of their potential visiting hours at a minor-league Civil War battlesite curtailed and the occasional inability of their own personnel to get to some part of the protected “wilderness” RIGHT NOW, I don’t think the DOI really wants to go into a court proceeding and try to elevate these “consequences” above the opening of a real human frontier in space. In any event, SpaceX has already proposed to build alternative accesses to the beach areas in the event its road closures are adjudged too “onerous.”
The idea that this letter from DOI spells doom for Starbase is all motivated reasoning by a viciously partisan Green Weenie who is counting chickens before the eggs have even been laid, never mind hatched.
Right, I wonder if their proposed tunnel would solve a lot of this. Hopefully the agencies involved allow for some negotiation instead of just dropping the proverbial hammer
The spitballed tunnel would seem likely to solve all the access issues. If the DOI tries digging in its heels on trivialities like scrap metal and access, it’s picking a molehill to die on.
The proposed tunnel solves nothing unless you happen to live on South Padre.
An easier way to solve the problem is simply for the State of Texas to terminate the agreement they have with the FWS to manage the state owned land at Boca Chica Beach. Then the FWS personnel will no longer need access to it.
Good breakdown, Douglas
Well, I don’t want to see wildlife (especially endangered species, if any) trampled over, nor wildlife protection laws. However, I also don’t want to see a return to the Moon delayed for years and years.
Hopefully a compromise can be reached. Specifically, it seems that continued Starship and Super Heavy testing development on the order of the originally approved “up to 12 flights per year” should be allowed to continue with mitigations. That would let S/SH get ready while SpaceX can take two or three years to get at least one Cape Canaveral pad ready to increase the flight rate and handle Artemis-related needs. That way, the Moon landing, which will not be happening before 2025 anyway, won’t have to be delayed at all.
And once the basic kinks of the S/SH system are worked out from operating from land for some number of flights, SpaceX can start working harder on developing their offshore platforms
The DOI letter doesn’t cite any potential harm to wildlife. It cites “harm” to tourists whose access to a nothing-burger Civil War “historic site” is modestly curtailed by occasional Hwy. 4 road closures and “harm” to its own minions from the same cause who seem bent out of shape by no longer having at-will access to the entire area 24/7/365. I don’t think pissyness on the part of a few entitled eco-bureaucrats is going to carry the day for the Green Luddite caucus.
If that is the only problem it could be solved by simply providing a ferry service to it.
I would need to check a map, but I seem to recall the battlefield being on the Brownsville side of SpaceX. In other words, except when an extra large safety perimeter is required, there should be little interference with visiting the battlefield.
It’s almost equidistant between Brownsville and the launch facility. A bit over 9 miles away as the crow flies.
Well…I might say that a scrum commonly called the last battle of the Civil War is a bit more than just a nothing-burger than a typical regiment-sized skirmish might qualify for.
But given the lack of monumental statuary and (alas) lack of visitors, a battlefield that’s over 9 miles from the launch site doesn’t seem to be in any real danger from a handful of launches.
I won’t engage in legal analysis, but the primary motivations at work, whether they have the law on their side or not, really do seem to be a species of NIMBYism and anti-Musk animus.
The endangered species would be better protected if tourists were banned from the area.
Exactly. Spaceports, like artillery ranges, actually enhance the environment for endangered species. Do have any idea how many populations of endangered insects and flowers are only located on artillery ranges and military training areas in the U.S. and Europe? The reason is they were left alone as the majority of the activity only takes place in a few limited areas and no one bothers going on rest of the range other than security units.
My opinion is that Texas should grant SpaceX the beach and land a mile in each direction. That takes care of highway 4, since that means it is now exclusive use for SpaceX, from their production facilities to the launch site.
SpaceX would still allow people to come up and watch progress at the launch site, as long as nothing important is going on.
Have you been out there?
When I was out there in the Summer of 2019 all I saw were a handful of gulls working over a nearly empty trash can on the beach. There were no tourists at the height of tourist season, just a couple of Border Patrol units parked on south end of the beach near the border.
The place was basically abandoned and unknown until SpaceX showed up and brought attention to it.
yeah I have been out there. the place was abandoned and unknown as more or less it should be as an evironmental reserve. this is in fact the issue
The beach is open to the public. Always has been always will be. If you pull up Google Maps and zoom in (satellite view), you will see tire tracks all over the place. This is not virgin unspoiled land. In fact there used to be houses and businesses there until a hurricane wiped it out.
The DOI letter is dated November 1.
On December 28, the FAA updated the PEA schedule, saying they needed two more months ““The FAA now plans to release the Final PEA on February 28, 2022.” They had surely considered those documents by then.
If a full EIS were the only possible way to go, the FAA wouldn’t have needed to change the date, so they must think there are other likely outcomes.
I would hope so, but I can’t discount the possibility that it’s merely a delaying tactic.
Environmental groups are already preparing delay tactic lawsuits to try to get an injunction. This could create a situation where SpaceX has a couple of months to launch before they are blocked in court. Feels like NIMBYism since the USFWS consultation would’ve evaluated it as no significant impact unless these groups feel USFWS and other agencies did a bad job. I think the only acceptable outcome for some of these groups is shutting down Starbase judging by some of their comments during the FAA public hearings. An EIS that ultimately greenlights it would probably still be fought tooth and nail.
I’m afraid you’re right. They will almost certainly fight expansion of facilities at KSC by SpaceX, too.
Unlike the Cape, all of the land at Boca Chica is owned by the State of Texas. FWS only has “jurisdiction” over it because the state agreed to let them manage it. If the State of Texas terminates that agreement with FWS they lose all jurisdiction and no longer have any say in the matter the FAA license. What the Mayor of Brownsville needs to do is ask Governor Abbot to terminate the FWS managing Boca Chica Beach.
Technology will increase no matter if the US progresses or not. Canceling Boca Chica means the US will not advance technologically, but the genie is already out of the bottle. Starship is i America’s only chance to keep up and surpass the great technological wave in space that is coming, because SLS and Boeing are already failures.
Therefore, if not America, then China or Russia will lead the world in space technology, but more mostly China.
It is hard to imagine now as things are fine for the US. People rarely have the foresight to accurately see how their decisions effect the future, but years or decades from now when America is a desolate, third-rate nation we will look back at Boca-Chica as the turning point. The jump in space tech must happen NOW or it will be lost. Elon is the only person who seems to know this – that there is something coming that is bigger than the need to preserve some parts of wildlife.
Hopefully, it’s not so big that Elon will realize in order to preserve the human race he will need to give Starship tech to a grateful Russia or China, and they will not have second thoughts about adversely effecting wildlife.
He cant give it to them because of gov regulations. No the business would just go belly up and we would look stupid and fickle and a poor place to try a space based startup. Every other country on the planet would jump at the opportunity to take spaceXs place.
If its not us it *will* be someone else. Then the greenie weenie can take a shot at slowing down Chinas ambitions and see where that gets him.
Turning a few hundred acres into a launch facility in the middle of nowhere is simply a non issue. If an animal has so small a range that it only lives in a few hundred acre area then its already a failure and already dead. Im all about conservation but is it really humanities yoke to try and rescue every single random biological mutation? If an animal filled such a tiny niche and can’t operate anywhere else then it’s doomed anyway.
Technology will increase no matter if the US progresses or not. Canceling Boca Chica means the US will not advance technologically, but the genie is already out of the bottle. Starship is realistically America’s only chance to keep up and surpass the great technological wave in space that is coming, because SLS and Boeing are already failures.
Elon seems to be the only person in the space industry to understand this, and that this may be humanity’s last chance.
SpaceX cannot delay. The time is now or the opportunity is lost.
Hopefully, the situation does not become so dire that Elon doesn’t realize he has to turn his starship tech over to a grateful Russia or China in order to preserve humanity, and they won’t have second thoughts about adversely effecting wildlife.
I prefer option 2: Let’s go Brandon.
Well, we wouldn’t want anything to happen to any of our historic monuments, so FWS has a basis for the denial.
As we have seen, even a small threat to any of our historic monuments is a threat that must be stopped at any cost.
Unless they’re white supremacist monuments. Since Palmito Ranch, the last battle of the Civil War, was a Confederate victory, all the monuments are by definition, immoral to protect. That’s how it works, anymore, right?
They also belong to the State of Texas, not the Federal Government.
So why is Kennedy Space Center still in operation? You do know that it, too, sits in the same sort of surroundings? Face it, there is no place that would be considered suitable by these people. There’d be some sort of desert tortoise, or dung beetle or something that needs protecting. What do you suggest? Build it in a populated area far from nature, as if that would fly?
Now you’re getting it… Catch-22. No place is suitable.
thats not true. go launch at the Cape
I have almost zero faith that that won’t be opposed by the usual suspects, as well.
no. I would not oppose it. 🙂
So… it turns out Blue Origin’s primary investment into lawfare instead of engineering really is the superior path into space after all?
$L$ delenda est
just the guy you want to have over for lunch
No wonder NASA couldn’t ever get projects off the ground on time and within budget. Too many government agencies trying to justify their existence.
Well written article. I would expect Messier to be “object”-ive. (Astronomy pun). So, is the FWS sure that in the entire Gulf of Mexico, the protected habitats have no equals? Sounds fishy. (I’m a biologist). As for sharp objects falling in water, I could see the danger there. The ocean needs more such safety measures. Let’s file down the sharks teeth, and kill all those coral reefs too. With safety scissors.
In all seriousness, the whole point of becoming a multiplanitary species is THE grand gesture of environmental stewardship. FWS, would it be a bad thing to stop straining at gnats while swallowing camels?
I was a biologist as well. Worked in zoos. Had friends who left the field and worked in environmental protection.
Ended up getting hired our by lawyers, who would be hired by local people, to stop development projects. Basically a Nimby assassin.
If you don’t want some new development being built you hire this team, and they go do surveys or the fauna and look for any threatened critter you can imagine. If a project is big enough you’ll probably find a threatened bird, lizard, salamander or flower nearby. I appreciate environmental protections but it’s often used as a weapon.
It is interesting that some of the endangered species listed are Jaguars and other big cats that are common in Mexico. The only reason they are endangered in Texas is because ranchers and farmers mostly wiped them out. It would be technically very easy to reintroduce them, but it’s a political non-starter. So FWS is probably hoping they will start drifting North of the border in places like Boca Chica to menace Texas agriculture again.
So how do they handle this at Canaveral?
It seems Canaveral should provide a good example of how this can be workable. One thing though is that KSC itself actually only hosts a few launches per year
I would need to check to be certain, but SpaceX launches are pretty evenly split between KSC and the Space Force Base (which is just across a narrow canal). KSC also launches other rockets besides SpaceX Falcons.
You might be surprised. KSC was sitting inactive from the last shuttle launch until the first Falcon 9 launch from 39A
It is pretty even. Last year it was 16 at CCSFS and 12 at KSC. 2020 was 13 at CCSFS and 12 at KSC.
In retrospect, why did Elon not anticipate this when he chose the site?
Musk should take operations to Russia. They will wellcome him with open arms
No, as any birdwatcher will tell you the birds skip that area and cross the Gulf to reach the coast further up by Rockport. That is where the lagoons are they feed in. There is nothing for them to feed and very little shelter at Boca Chica. Very few migrants are reported from there by birdwatchers, the majority of whom never waste there time there.
You have no idea how many rockets have blown up at the Cape, adjacent to the Merit Island Wildlife Refuge, over the last 70 years do you? Or how many tons of toxic solid rocket exhaust have rained down on it. The Starship/Super Heavy doesn’t use toxic solid fuel.
You have no clue about rockets do you? Large rockets need a coastal site because they are too large to transport overland.
Let’s be realistic: these habitats are nothing special. Who gives a ∱µ⋐ⓚ about “ruts on algal flats” besides wacko environmentalists and a-holes…
Wrong. Almost none of the larger rocket stages at KSC are built or were built there. STS ET, S V, first stage of SLS, and many others all come to KSC from elsewhere on barges. It would be impossible to transport these stages over land. Entire canals and turn basins exist at KSC for this purpose. Perhaps it is you that know less than they think.
You know better than that. That’s the recent past. Look a lot further back at analogous periods when those now highly reliable rockets flown today were being developed.
This is what happens when the Southern Republicans get hoodwinked by a snake oil merchant, they hand over pristine and supposedly protected wilderness to an environmental vandal. Musk is the spanner in the works of space exploration and the sooner he is out of the game, along with Bozos and Branson the better. Anyway Tesla will collapse in thee next five years as Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GM and the other experienced car makers achieve economies of scale and can outprice and out-perform the four to five year old Teslas Musk is selling as new vehicles. Farewell Elon your exit from public life will be a boon to humanity.