Si Elon Musk souhaite mener de l’avant dans son projet Starship, il devra au travers de 75 mesures imposées par la FAA - Depositphotos.com Auteur rokas91

Elon Musk and his Starship project under the caudine forks of the environment?

Destinations

In our forecast for the year 2022, we announced the rise of ecological movements and a strong trend of the environment on space tourism, particularly in terms of research into so-called “green” fuels.

The latest decision from the United States Civil Aviation Administration (FAA) shows the increasingly important role of environmental ecology in relation to the space industry and one of its components, space tourism.
Read also : Space: when rocket launches disrupt air traffic Indeed if Elon Musk wants to move forward with its Starship project, it will have to through 75 measures imposed by the FAA, reduce its nuisances around its “Starbase” launch base located in Boca Chica in the far south of the United States, not far from the border with Mexico.

75 measurements are required by the FAA

Since setting up his base in Boca Chica, Elon Musk has been the target of environmentalists and the press. One example among many others, the article by the journalist Celia Izoard on the site “Reporterre the daily life of ecology”: ” Several times a year in Boca Chica, the launch of experimental spacecraft fails and these rockets of several thousand tons explode in flight, scattering debris all over the bay which happens to be a nature reserve made up of marshes where ocelots, jaguarundi, hawks and Kemp’s turtles live “. Also, after months of reviews, thousands of public comments, and multiple delays to the original schedule, the FAA confirmed that its assessment had resulted in ” an “attenuated” conclusion of no significant impact “. On June 13, inexorably the verdict of the FAA fell: 75 measures are required to reduce the inconvenience caused by SpaceX’s activities in Texas!

Measures imposed by the FAA

Among the measures that the FAA highlights feature the reduction of the lighting of the launch complex in order to minimize the impact on wildlife and in particular night birds, continuous monitoring of wild life with the assistance of a qualified biologist, better upstream information for the population in order to warn them of sound shocks that may occur produce and removal of any debris. Additionally, a “qualified biologist” will also be in charge of monitoring the impact of the Starbase on the local fauna and flora.

Also, on-site transport will also have to be redesigned with the establishment of shuttles, thus avoiding the incessant round trips of many individual cars to the site. SpaceX will also have to protect the access road as well as a nearby beach and monitor access very strictly.

Finally, it is specified to SpaceX that the surrounding population will have to be informed in advance of potential engine noise and sonic booms with launches.

Insufficient measures?

Despite all these measures, many environmental groups say they are disappointed with this decision.
Read also : What future fuel for space tourism? ” We hope that the SpaceX team will see that life on Earth deserves more consideration and that they will do their best to minimize the impact of the Boca Chica site. said Mike Parr, president of a bird conservation association quoted by Spacenews.com. For the record, SpaceX recently announced that the first flights to Mars with Starship will begin in 2030, but for that Elon Musk will have to respect the 75 measurements required by the FAA.

Let it be said: Today we no longer trifle with the environment.

Michel MESSAGER is Associate Director of Consul Tours, a consulting firm working for private and institutional clients in the tourism sectors.

He is a Founding Member of the European Institute of Space Tourism and of the AFST (French Association of Seniors in Tourism). He is the author of two books on Space Tourism, the first published in 2009 at the French documentation and the second released in 2021, “Histoire du Tourisme Spatial de 1950 à 2020” at Amazon, as well as numerous articles on the subject. . He is currently considered one of the specialists in the field. He speaks frequently on this subject on radio and television, as well as through conferences in many countries, notably in Canada where he resides for a few months a year. In particular, he advises “new space” companies and investment funds on financial projects in the field of Space Tourism.