Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, posted a tweet earlier this month announcing plans to build a rocket launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida for Starship and other heavy-spacecraft. SpaceX had asked NASA to perform an environmental assessment of its launch facility 49. However, the American space agency shared a recent press release that stated that the 175-acre site was located north of Launch Complex 39B, within the security perimeter of the center, and would allow for the launch and landing of the Starship and Super Heavy rocket vehicles.
Both NASA and SpaceX are moving forward with their initial environmental assessments before making a final decision. Kennedy’s director for Center Planning and Development Tom Engler stated that LC-49 was a part of Kennedy’s master plan for many years. This availability was last updated in 2014. Every construction project must pass the National Environmental Policy Act, which applies to all development activities within the region.
NASA shared a press release that included a statement by Don Dankert (Kenya Environmental Planning Office Technical Lead), who stated, “Every new construction project, government or commercial, undergoes a thorough environmental review process. This allows us to determine potential environmental impacts and to provide mitigations before any project is implemented.
NASA will share its proposal for an environmental assessment of launch facility 49 in early 2022. However, the space agency is also focused on Boeing’s Starliner. They have now solved the problem and can move forward with the test flight of Starliner.
NASA extended its contract with SpaceX, awarding three additional commercial crew missions to the International Space Station. They were the only aerospace company that passed NASA’s safety- and cost-efficient assessment.