Environmental groups have sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for SpaceX’s Starship launch from Texas last month. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are suing alleging the FAA failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of the Starship program near Boca Chica Beach.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service reported that large concrete chunks, stainless steel sheets, and other objects were thrown thousands of feet from the pad. Additionally, a plume of pulverized concrete sent material up to 6.4 miles northwest of the pad. The plaintiffs include the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation, Save RGV (Rio Grande Valley), and the Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas.
The groups have requested that the court revokes the five-year license that the FAA granted to SpaceX. The FAA is overseeing the accident investigation and has grounded all SpaceX Starships until it is certain that public safety will not be compromised.
Jared Margolis from the Center for Biological Diversity said, “It’s vital that we protect life on Earth even as we look to the stars in this modern era of spaceflight. Federal officials should defend vulnerable wildlife and frontline communities, not give a pass to corporate interests that want to use treasured coastal landscapes as a dumping ground for space waste.” (via Associated Press)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said over the weekend crews could be ready to launch the next Starship in six to eight weeks, with the FAA’s approval. Musk said changes are being made at the launch pad to avoid a “dust storm” and “rock tornado” at the next launch, in which he expects Starship has an 80% chance of reaching orbit.