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SpaceX’s Starship launch plan gets an environmental OK from the feds

Enlarge / SpaceX’s next rocket on site at Boca Chica. (credit: Getty Images / Washington Post)

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave SpaceX one of several approvals that will be needed before the company can launch its Starship from the Boca Chica site in South Texas. The environmental approval comes in part because technology developments have allowed the company to eliminate some of the facilities initially planned for the location, greatly reducing its footprint and impacts.

Still, the company will face restrictions within the site and timing of the launches; it will also be expected to support some environmental and historical interests. The company will still need the FAA’s approval regarding safety and risks before it can begin operations.

Less is more

SpaceX has been pursuing atmospheric testing of its hardware at Boca Chica. Ultimately, it plans to turn this into the main launch site for the Falcon Superheavy vehicles that will loft its Starship vehicle into orbit, along with potential commercial cargo. The booster would also potentially return to the site or land offshore and be ferried back.

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