Wildlife and environmental groups sued the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday, 1 May 2023, because SpaceX launched its big rocket from Texas last month.
SpaceX’s Starship flew 24 miles high before bursting over the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. The nearly 400-foot rocket blew up because it was programmed to do so. It spun out of control just a few minutes into the test flight.
A lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the groups are suing because they think the FAA didn’t fully consider how the Starship program would affect the environment near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. They asked the court to remove SpaceX’s five-year license from the FAA.
The FAA didn’t say anything, saying it doesn’t talk about cases already in court. The agency is in charge of looking into the accident and has ordered that all SpaceX Starships stay on the ground until it’s clear that public safety won’t be at risk.
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, said over the weekend that if the FAA gives his company the green light, the next Starship could be ready to launch in six to eight weeks.
No one was hurt or any public property was seriously damaged by rocket or flying pad pieces. Most of the rocket’s 33 main engines fired up at liftoff, making a big hole in the concrete pad.
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The launch pad is in a remote area at the southernmost tip of Texas, just below South Padre Island and about 20 miles from Brownsville.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last week that big pieces of concrete, stainless steel, metal, and other things were thrown thousands of feet away from the pad. The service also said that a cloud of ground-up concrete reached as far as 6.4 miles northwest of the pad.
It was the first time a full-size Starship went into space. The futuristic-looking spaceship was on top of the huge booster rocket. The company wants to use it to send people and things to the moon and, eventually, Mars. NASA wants to use Starship as soon as 2025 to take humans to the moon’s surface.
The Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, the Surfrider Foundation, Save RGV, and the Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas brought the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court in Washington.
The Center for Biological Diversity also shared this via a tweet, which is given below-
TAKE ACTION: While reaching for the stars, we must also protect life on Earth. Urge @SpaceX , @ElonMusk and @FAANews to protect wildlife habitat from the proposed SpaceX launch site expansion in Boca Chica, TX. 👇https://t.co/i4AivA4Qy6
— Center for Biological Diversity (@CenterForBioDiv) May 1, 2023
In a statement, Jared Margolis of the Center for Biological Diversity said, “It’s important that we protect life on Earth even as we look to the stars in this age of space travel.” “Federal officials should protect endangered wildlife and communities on the front lines. They shouldn’t let corporations use beautiful coastal landscapes as a place to dump space waste.”
Musk said over the weekend that changes are being made to the launch pad to prevent a “rock tornado” and a “dust storm” at the next launch.
Musk said, “As far as we know, there hasn’t been any significant environmental damage.”
Musk has said he will change the next Starship before it enters space. He said that the self-destruct system would need to be changed so that the rocket bursts right away, not about 40 seconds later as it did on this first run.
His comments were made in a Twitter chat on Saturday night that was only for people who had signed up for it, and they were later shared online.
Source- Oregon Public Broadcasting Department