SpaceX Starship Super Heavy Project at the Boca Chica Launch Site
SpaceX proposes to conduct Starship/Super Heavy launch operations from the Boca Chica Launch Site in Cameron County, Texas. SpaceX must apply for and obtain an experimental permit(s) and/or a vehicle operator license from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation to operate the Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle. The FAA's evaluation of a permit or license application includes a review of 1) public safety issues (such as overflight of populated areas and payload contents); 2) national security or foreign policy concerns; 3) insurance requirements for the launch operator; and 4) potential environmental impact. Read more about the history of the Boca Chica launch site and the location of the launch site.
The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended and codified at 51 U.S.C. §§ 50901-50923, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to oversee, license, and regulate commercial launch and reentry activities, and the operation of launch and reentry sites within the United States or as carried out by U.S. citizens. Section 50905 directs the Secretary to exercise this responsibility consistent with public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. In addition, Section 50903 requires the Secretary to encourage, facilitate, and promote commercial space launches and reentries by the private sector. As codified at 49 CFR § 1.83(b), the Secretary has delegated authority to carry out these functions to the FAA Administrator.
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 Mars. For additional information on SpaceX, please visit spacex.com.
Project Status Update
The FAA published the Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program at the SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site in Cameron County, Texas (Draft PEA) on September 17, 2021, for public review and comment.
The FAA plans to release the Final PEA on May 31, 2022. The FAA is finalizing the review of the Final PEA, including responding to comments and ensuring consistency with SpaceX’s licensing application. The FAA is also completing consultation and confirming mitigations for the proposed SpaceX operations. All consultations must be complete before the FAA can issue the Final PEA.
Programmatic Environmental Assessment
The FAA released the Draft PEA for the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launch Vehicle Program for review and comment.
A copy of the September 2021 Draft PEA is available here for download.
- Executive Summary of the Draft PEA – in English (PDF)
- Executive Summary of the Draft PEA – in Spanish (PDF)
- Draft PEA for SpaceX Starship Super Heavy at Boca Chica (PDF)
- Appendix A. References (PDF)
- Appendix B. Noise Assessment (PDF)
- Appendix C. National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Consultation (PDF)
- Appendix D. Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation (PDF)
- Appendix E. Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f) Consultation (PDF)
- Appendix F. Viewshed Supporting Images (PDF)
- Appendix G. Exhaust Plume Calculations (PDF)
Hardcopies of the Draft PEA are also available for review at the following locations:
- Brownsville Public Library, Main Branch located at 2600 Central Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78520
- Brownsville Public Library, Southmost Branch located at 4320 Southmost Road, Brownsville, TX 78521
- The Dancy Building County Judge Office located at 1100 E Monroe St Suite 218, Brownsville, TX 78520
Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment Public Review and Comment Period
The FAA released the Draft PEA for public comment on September 17, 2021. The original comment period was from September 17, 2021 through October 18, 2021. The FAA extended comment period to November 1, 2021. The comment period is now closed.
The FAA held two virtual public hearings to solicit comments from the public concerning the scope and content of the Draft PEA. The hearings were held October 18 and October 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. At the start of the hearing, the FAA provided a Power Point presentation in English and Spanish. Afterwards, members of the public provided oral comments. If you were unable to attend the public hearing, you can still provide a comment through: email@example.com.
The FAA provided a Power Point presentation in English and Spanish. Afterwards, members of the public provided oral comments. The presentations will be posted on this website after the public hearing. If you were unable to attend the public hearing, you can still provide a comment through: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Power Point slides from the hearing are now available in English and Spanish. Please click here to view the Power Point materials in English (PDF). Please click here to view the Power Point materials in Spanish (PDF).
The transcripts from the October 18 and October 20, 2021 hearings are now available. Please note the transcripts do not include the FAA presentations. Instead, you can review the slides and associated scripts in the Power Point links above.
Please find the October 18, 2021 transcript linked here (PDF).
Please find verbal comments submitted in Spanish on October 18, 2021 here (PDF).
Please find the October 20, 2021 transcript linked here (PDF).
No verbal comments were submitted in Spanish on October 20, 2021.
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