FAA weighs environmental impact of SpaceX launch site


The environment also includes people. The FAA’s draft report states that 527 people live in the area on the US side of the border. Among them, 90% are people of color, and 82% of household incomes are twice the poverty line or less. Moriba Jah, an aerospace engineer at the University of Texas at Austin, said that this has also led to potential environmental justice issues of architectural and ecological hazards. His research includes space environmental protection.

But Jah, Berg, Gabler and others said they did not see the company discussing environmental and other local issues with residents. “SpaceX should at least go to the community and say,’We will have a city hall. This is what we want to do. If SpaceX can at least sincerely say, “This is what we want to work with the community,” I think that would be better. But I haven’t seen anything far from this situation,” Jia said.

“They tend to treat the locals,’You should be happy that we are here. …We will not ask for permission, but we will ask for forgiveness later,'” Surfers Foundation South Texas Chapter Vice Chairman Rob Nixon said the organization advocates for public beach access and protection. For example, according to his statistics, SpaceX has closed Highway 4 each year for the past two years, which is the only access to the Boca Chica public beach for more than 300 hours, exceeding the company’s earlier agreement with the FAA. According to a new report from the Federal Aviation Administration, SpaceX’s Starship program is expected to be closed for 500 hours a year.

In other words, at the hearing on Monday, most commentators expressed support for the company. Austin Barnard of Brownsville, Texas said: “As a local, I wholeheartedly support SpaceX and their efforts. I am very excited about their arrival.” “This is my first time. Once I saw my community fully accept the new dawn of mankind through space exploration and the expansion of our civilization into another world.”

Followed by another local resident, Jerónimo Reyes-Retana (Jerónimo Reyes-Retana), who regretted the lack of attention from the Mexican community across the border. “The assessment deliberately chose not to consider the existence of several Tamaulipas settlements located within the FAA’s limited area of ​​influence,” he said.

As private companies step up their launch efforts, FAA officials will arrange work for them, and many environmental reviews will be conducted as in Boca Chica. But they are not the only agencies that regulate the aerospace industry. The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for overseeing launch and reentry. The Federal Communications Commission’s responsibilities include space communications, the Department of Commerce is responsible for space economic activities, NASA provides various guidelines, and the Pentagon monitors debris in orbit.

“What we are doing in aerospace right now is very similar to what happened in the aviation industry in the 1920s. This is a piece of cake: you have the post office and the Ministry of Commerce involved, and in fact no one is clearly responsible. Until the 1930s and 1940s , Commercial aviation began to emerge, and they began to integrate these services into one agency or department,” said Wendy Whiteman Cobb, a political scientist at the Air Force’s Advanced Aviation Academy. Space research. She believes that the federal government may eventually integrate commercial aerospace regulations within an agency.



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