SpaceX Starship Super Heavy Operations at the Kennedy Space Center
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) submitted proposals to expand its Starship/Super Heavy program operations at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The proposals were submitted through the Land Use Notice of Availability (NOA) process to construct and operate a new launch complex (LC-49) as well as expand SpaceX’s existing operations near Roberts Road.
SpaceX has already begun developing a site within the perimeter of LC-39A for Starship/Super Heavy launch operations and intends to use that site for future Starship missions. An Environmental Assessment was completed and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued in September 2019. The proposed expanded operations at KSC, which include the LC-49 launch site and expansion of the Roberts Road site, would provide redundancy and capacity and allow SpaceX to increase the flight rate of Starship and minimize potential disruptions to Falcon, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon missions at LC-39A.
Since 2014, KSC has utilized the Land Use NOA process as part of our comprehensive master planning for evaluation of future land use and development.
All proposed developmental activities on KSC, whether government or commercial, are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). New construction project proposals are subject to a comprehensive environmental review process that includes an Environmental Assessment (EA) and site-planning to identify potential impacts. Environmental planning is implemented early in project development for proposed projects and activities located at KSC. Early planning facilitates compliance with NEPA and all applicable environmental laws and regulations, minimizes impacts to the environment, and reduces project uncertainty.
As part of NASA’s NEPA process, in consideration of the SpaceX Starship / Super Heavy proposal, to construct LC-49 and expand existing operations at Roberts Road an EA will be developed to assess and document the potential environmental impacts of the proposal prior to a final decision. Initiation and completion of an EA is not indicative of a proposed project’s approval or disapproval.
SpaceX also plans to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation for experimental permits and/or a vehicle operator license for Starship/Super Heavy operations at KSC. Accordingly, the EA will also consider the FAA’s NEPA implementing policy, FAA Order 1050.1F, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, regarding potential launch and reentry related impacts.
For more information about KSC’s NEPA process visit KSC’s NEPA page
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a commercial space transportation company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX developed the Falcon 1 (no longer operational), Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy vertical orbital launch vehicles, all of which were built with the goal of becoming reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX launches commercial and government payloads, including the Dragon spacecraft, which was recently used to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and bring them back to Earth. SpaceX is currently developing a new rocket, Starship/Super Heavy, with the goal of traveling to the Moon and Mars. For additional information on SpaceX, please visit spacex.com.
Over the past several months, KSC environmental and project management staff have engaged with SpaceX to evaluate the proposed Starship / Superheavy launch complex and the expanded operational area at the SpaceX Roberts Road site to further define the scope of the proposals. As NASA continues its comprehensive review of the project proposals, updates will be posted to this page.
NASA will initiate public scoping in the future to receive and collect public and interagency input on the proposals. Check back on this page for future updates.
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