Space X Launch Site Approved for Brownsville Area
A plan by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to build a privately owned launch site just north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Brownsville, Texas, passed a key environmental review July 9, clearing the firm to submit a formal application to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s “Record of Decision” culminates a two-year process designed to vet primarily environmental aspects of building a spaceport on the Gulf of Mexico coast 8 kilometers south of South Padre Island.
“SpaceX appreciates the FAA’s commitment and work in developing today’s Record of Decision (ROD). There remain several criteria that will need to be met before SpaceX makes a decision. We are hopeful that these will be complete in the near future,” SpaceX communications director John Taylor wrote in an email to SpaceNews.
SpaceX currently launches its Falcon 9 rockets from a leased launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It has a second launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and in April finalized a lease with NASA to take over one of the space shuttle’s launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA plans to use the second shuttle pad to launch its heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket, currently under development.