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Government Space

Brownsville SpaceX Space Port Faces More Regulatory Hurdles 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the hurry-up-and-wait dept.
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "It turns out that the recent FAA environmental impact statement that seemed to give a stamp of approval for the proposed SpaceX space port in south Texas is not the end of the regulatory process, but the end of the beginning. A story in the Brownsville Herald reminds us that the report has kicked off a 30 day review period after which the FAA can allow SpaceX to apply for a launch license to start work on the Brownsville area launch facility. And that in turn kicks off a 180 day process during which the FAA makes the decision whether or not to grant the required licensing and permits.

But even that is not the end of the regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must face before the first Falcon rocket roars into the skies over the Gulf of Mexico. The Longview News-Journal reports that a number of state and federal agencies must give their approval for various aspects of the space port before it becomes operational. For instance, the Texas Department of Transportation must give approval for the movement of utility lines. Environment Texas still opposes the space port since it is close to a wild life reserve and a state park. SpaceX has already agreed to enact measures to minimize the impact the space port would have on the environment, 'such as containing waste materials from the construction and enforcing a speed limit in the control center area.' Environment Texas is not impressed, however. Whether it is disposed to make trouble in the courts is an open question."
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Brownsville SpaceX Space Port Faces More Regulatory Hurdles

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  • Non News (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday June 08, 2014 @04:06PM (#47191521)

    These are all formalities.

    The US Government knows that they need SpaceX, and Texas definitely wants SpaceX to stay in Texas, and folks, both for the completely obvious reasons.

    Of course there are reviews to take place, and itâ(TM)s my guess that none of this is either a surprise nor going to be a roadblock to the SpaceX Thunderdome in Texasâ¦

    • Re:Non News (Score:5, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @04:11PM (#47191545) Homepage Journal

      It's all pretty standard for any kind of large project. Why should a spaceport face less environmental review than a shopping mall?

      • Mod the hell up and close the thread. Not much left to say.

      • by savuporo (658486)

        Flying megatons of dead dinosaur juice in close proximity of cryocooled oxidiser, mixed in with a good bunch of healthy hydrazine. Why would you ever be concerned about any impacts there.
        Market regulates itself, right ?

      • Why should a mall have to plow through all that unnecessary crap? This nation is done, historically. We're about 50 years behind Europe in our Great Decline, while the new center of empire, China, continues rocketting upwards.

        See, economics doesn't care why you are hindering free enterprise, only that you are. It could be due to a failed state that cannot secure rights, including property.

        It could be due to mafia or police or official kickbacks everywhere (in India, 10% of the cost of the building is the

        • Well that's lovely. Switching to Opera from my broken-down, pre-Chrome browser on Android busts ability to submit BBCode. Experiments with all four submission interpretation settings, Text (which used to work on Broken Down), html, extrans, forget code) all similarly don't do it.

          This reminds me of the late 1970s, and the book "Why Nothing Works".

          • Unless... BBCode never worked here and it's been html all along.

            My mind is going...mother...father...the sky glows...so cold...so very cold...

        • by hey! (33014)

          I've been to Europe. You should go too, because if you're right and they're 50 years ahead of us, you should check it out.

          Judging from the state of things in Europe, the Great Decline isn't going to be so bad. Sure a few of the people there don't speak American and a lot of 'em have queer opinions. But the grub, once you get used to it, isn't half bad for foreign muck. And a lot of the places they've got seriously kick-ass beer, and that goes a long way in my book.

          And they've got a lot of hot women. I thi

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by p51d007 (656414)
      Shoot, 99% of environmental groups would have a problem if you disturb one blade of grass or one teaspoon of dirt. If they want to live in the stone age, move over to one of the "STAN" countries, or the bulk of Africa and leave the rest of us the heck alone.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        If they want to live in the stone age, move over to one of the "STAN" countries.

        Not a good example. The two main cities of Kazakhstan now (and since the late '90s, really) are glittering skyscrapers, expensive cars, and haute couture fashion shops. I found Tajikistan surprisingly well-developed in parts, a consequences of remittences from men working abroad. Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan aren't doing too well, but they are entirely comparable to Eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism, which was poor ce

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's bullshit and you know it. The vast majority of environmental groups simply want compliance with existing environmental laws and regs (including proper NEPA review for major projects sanctioned by the gov't, a process conceived by the NIXON administration.

        But hey, the tiny handful of real extreme environmental groups (apparently "99%" in your mind) make a convenient strawman, don't they?

        Shoot, 99% of environmental groups would have a problem if you disturb one blade of grass or one
        teaspoon of dirt.

      • by kimvette (919543)

        This regulation makes sense because it holds companies responsible and avoids further polluting an environment we've already damaged.

        Contrast that to idiots who want to block off-shore wind farms because it's "unsightly as I cruise in my yacht" and avoid new LNG depots because of unsightly tanks and extending gas pipelines to small towns despite it being a greener option than burning diesel to heat homes.

  • Environment Texas still opposes the space port since it is close to a wild life reserve and a state park. SpaceX has already agreed to enact measures to minimize the impact the space port would have on the environment,

    I always see environmentalists telling others how to live, but i never see environmentalists living off the land themselves

    • I wonder if these environmentalists have ever been to Florida. Where they launch lots of rockets. Where they launch rockets right next to a wildlife preserve [fws.gov].

      • I wonder if these environmentalists have ever been to Florida. Where they launch lots of rockets. Where they launch rockets right next to a wildlife preserve [fws.gov].

        Pretty sure quite a few of them go there to watch and cheer, then go home and say "not here!"

      • by meerling (1487879)
        The conservationists in Florida have often said the Launch Facility was an amazing boon for the wildlife.
        The conservationists in Texas should be happy about the new spaceport for the benefits it'll bring for wildlife conservation.

        Besides, I've lived in Texas, and it's not exactly an environmental gem in the first place. :P
      • by Mabhatter (126906)

        as long as you don't have disasters, wildlife parks are great place for rocket launches. You want a buffer of several miles between the rockets and the rest of humans... which means 80% of the land is left wild like at Kennedy.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Most "environmentalist" concerns are NIMBY concerns.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I always see environmentalists telling others how to live, but i never see environmentalists living off the land themselves

      That's because the ones that are living off the land are too busy to slashdot, and you don't get out much.

  • the Massachusetts' State Fire Marshall, an early form of busybody bureaucrat, forced Goddard to move and this is merely a continuance of that grand governmet tradition.
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @07:03PM (#47192141) Homepage

    Would probably approve this in 24 hours.

    • Subject to approval by Los Zetas?
      Could this be reverse DeLorean?
      Cocaine in space!
      What could go wrong?

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @09:46PM (#47192665)

    More seriously, I have always wondered why NASA didn't set up its Apollo-era launch facilities in Brownsville to begin with. It's as far south as you can get in the lower 48, it has open water to the west, and it doesn't have that terrible Florida weather that kept delaying every launch. Also unlike Florida, it would have been not nearly so far from the Houston command center.

    • by AJWM (19027)

      Cuba.

      A launch from Florida (in an easterly direction) doesn't look like it might be an attack on Cuba; a launch from south Texas does (or could). The political and technical situations are a bit different today.

      Also, spreading the pork around to multiple states/congressional districts. Texas got the facility in Houston.

      Oh, and what open water is to the west of Brownsville? ;-)

      • Sorry, that was supposed to be 'east'. All launches take place in that direction to get the free boost from Earth's rotation.

        Any danger to Cuba from Brownsville would be as great a danger to Florida - but are both places not decently out of range at that distance?

        • by cdrudge (68377)

          I think he was meaning that a launch being seen as a potential missile attack on Cuba. Launching a rocket from the east coast of Florida wouldn't take the flight path in the same general vicinity over Havana. Remember that when Kennedy Space Center was built, it was only a few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

          Then again, I guess Texas could also launch an attack on Florida. Hopefully Florida would retaliate in time to destroy Texas before itself was destroyed. The country would just sit back, watch,

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      " Also unlike Florida, it would have been not nearly so far from the Houston command center."
      Cape Canaveral pre-dates NASA in Houston. You see mission control was in Florida for Mercury and Gemini and was moved because... LBJ had some buddies that would make a lot of money if Mission control was moved to Houston. The Eastern Test Range which is what NASA uses for the Cape was already set up and working long before Houston Control.
      It is also not as far south as you can get in the lower 48, that would have be

    • More seriously, I have always wondered why NASA didn't set up its Apollo-era launch facilities in Brownsville to begin with. It's as far south as you can get in the lower 48, it has open water to the west, and it doesn't have that terrible Florida weather that kept delaying every launch. Also unlike Florida, it would have been not nearly so far from the Houston command center.

      Because Brownsville doesn't have as much open water to the East (the direction of interest) as Cape Canaveral does, nor does it have

  • without some regulator from somewhere trying to stick a "out of compliance" tag on my ass
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      without some regulator from somewhere trying to stick a "out of compliance" tag on my ass

      Well geeze man, they have been known to kill a bullfrog at 40 paces and strip the paint off your neighbor's house.

  • Shouldn't the Spaceport be in the US?
  • When did Texas start believing in science?

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