GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Elon Musk's SpaceX has received environment clearance from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for developing and testing its giant Starship rocket launch vehicle in Texas. The review, known as a programmatic environmental assessment (PEA), which gauged the environmental impacts of SpaceX's Starbase site, concluded that the company's plans would not result in significant impacts to the environment.

What

  1. The FAA's assessment of SpaceX's Starbase launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, concluded that SpaceX's plans would not result in significant impacts to the environment.
  2. It has, however, asked SpaceX to make more than 75 changes to its proposal for the Starbase facility to mitigate environmental impacts from its proposed plan.
  3. SpaceX cannot launch the orbital test mission without a passing grade from the final PEA. The licence application is still pending.
  4. SpaceX also must meet FAA safety, risk, and financial responsibility requirements before a licence is issued for any launch activities.
  5. SpaceX is developing Starship to take people and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond.
  6. NASA has already signed on, picking Starship as the first crewed lunar landing system for its Artemis moon programme.
  7. Starship consists of two elements, a spacecraft called Starship and a giant first-stage booster known as Super Heavy.
  8. Both will be fully reusable, and both will be powered by Raptors, six for the final Starship and 29 for Super Heavy.