FAA Report Shows SpaceX is Almost Clear to Land in Texas

Based on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released by the FAA today, it appears that SpaceX is on the threshold of officially declaring what has seemed inevitable for some time, the Lone Star State is about to get its own spaceport.

Based on the report, SpaceX envisions up to 12 launches per year from the site, with up to two being for the Falcon Heavy. That latter point may be something of surprise based on early statements that the company anticipated a much higher FH flight rate, although that comment was in reference to DOD launches.

The good news for Texas means bad news for Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia, however the Hawthorne based company did tell a Puerto Rican newspaper the equivalent of the phrase every love struck teenager fears the most, “lets just be friends,” pointing out that it is not necessarily excluded from future consideration.

Although an environmental assessment, much of the very limited negative comments about the plan centered on the activities for launch day, including beach closures.

In terms of its effect on traffic flow:

“SpaceX proposes to limit public access at two pre-defined checkpoints on State Highway 4 to ensure that
unauthorized persons remain out of the FAA-approved hazard area. The two checkpoints include a soft
checkpoint on State Highway 4, just west of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint
(approximately 14–16 miles west of the State Highway 4 terminus at Boca Chica Beach). Government
personnel, SpaceX personnel, emergency personnel, and anyone with property beyond this soft
checkpoint could pass, but the general public would be denied access. The second checkpoint would be
a hard checkpoint, just west of the control center area, which is a “no pass” area determined by an FAA approved
hazard area. No one would be permitted to pass by this hard checkpoint during launch
operations,”

and

“The closures would last up to 15 hours on a launch day, with 6 hours being the typical closure time for a nominal launch. The 15-hour closure period allows for potential aborts and contingencies. A closure for
a wet dress rehearsal or static fire engine test would be shorter than a closure for a launch. Closures for
a wet dress rehearsal or static fire engine test would typically be 3 hours or less.”

While SpaceX is taking precautions to point out that even though the EIS is good, the decision is not final, and still requires signing off by all agencies involved, it seems the only thing standing is a phrase which may be heard quite a bit in Cameron County and the Brownsville area; “Go for Launch.”

 

 

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