The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a final environmental assessment of SpaceX’s ”Starship” spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket program in Boca Chica, Texas, after attaching more than 75 conditions to the proposed project.
Citing an FAA release from Monday, SpaceX’s changes must alleviate certain environmental concerns before the company secures the launch license at the site.
The mitigations include protections for water resources and limiting biohazard controls and noise levels.
SpaceX will also be required to coordinate with a “qualified biologist” on lighting inspections to minimize the impact on sea turtles, operate an employee shuttle between Boca Chica and Brownsville, Texas, and perform quarterly cleanups of Boca Chica Beach.
Furthermore, SpaceX will reportedly contribute to local education and preservation efforts — namely preparing a historical context report of the Mexican War and Civil War battles that took place in the area, along with “replacing missing ornaments on a local historical marker.”
And finally, the company must annually contribute $5,000 each to organizations which protect ocelots and endangered birds of prey, as well as a Texas recreational fishing program.
SpaceX has been developing a reusable Starship rocket — that’s nearly 400 feet tall — with the goal of carrying cargo and groups of people beyond Earth.
Within this mission, SpaceX has completed high-altitude flight tests with Starship prototypes, but it has yet to reach space following development and regulatory delays.
SpaceX has already made changes to its expansion of the Starbase site, according to the FAA, with the company removing infrastructure plans for a desalination plant, natural gas pretreatment system, liquefier and power plant.
In February, CEO Elon Musk — the world’s richest man, and the apparent future majority owner of Twitter — gave a presentation on Starship at the Starbase facility in Texas, outlining the rocket’s testing procedures and eventual path forward.
In a Monday social media post, SpaceX’s Twitter account shared a link to the FAA’s website, and included the following message: “One step closer to the first orbital flight test of Starship.”
In May 2021, SpaceX successfully launched and landed the futuristic Starship, nailing a test flight of the rocket ship that Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and eventually take people to Mars.