BOCA CHICA BEACH, Texas (Border Report) — The Federal Aviation Administration says it has completed the safety review of SpaceX’s South Texas launch facility but the agency’s environmental process is still ongoing.
The FAA this week said the agency had “completed the safety review portion of the SpaceX Starship-Super Heavy license evaluation on Oct. 31.”
A safety review is focused on issues that affect public health and safety of property, the agency said. This includes evaluating safety system processes, flight safety analysis and quantitative risk criteria for launch, re-entry and vehicle disposal.
A review was ordered after the April 20 failed launch and explosion of the Starship flight test from Starbase, the company’s South Texas launch facility, which is near the border with Mexico.
In September, the FAA announced 63 corrective actions that SpaceX must take before it can try to launch again, as it closed what is called a mishap investigation into the incident.
As the environmental review into the company’s request for a license to launch the nearly 400-foot-tall, 11-million-pound Starship spacecraft continues, the FAA is consulting with other agencies.
This includes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is doing a biological assessment under the Endangered Species Act.
Several endangered species live in the area, including the piping plover and red knot birds, as well as endangered sea turtles.
Debris from the failed launch spread out for miles over the South Texas border, and even caused grass fires and wildfires.
SpaceX also has asked the State of Texas for permission to dump up to 200,000 gallons of treated wastewater into South Bay, a protected coastal preserve that borders Starbase.
That’s because the company is growing and expanding according to an application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that Border Report has reviewed.
The TCEQ is taking public comments through Nov. 7 on the issue, according to the group Save RGV, which opposes the discharge of water into the hyper-saline waterway where newborn dolphins live.
Comments regarding the proposed dumping can be left at the TCEQ website at TCEQ.Texas.Gov. Include permit number: WQ0016342001.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.