The American air regulator is in the sights of NGOs. Several American environmental organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the American Bird Conservancy, filed a complaint on Monday May 1 in federal court in the capital Washington following the stormy takeoff of the Starship on April 20. The latter accuse the American civil aviation regulatory authority (FAA) of having incorrectly assessed the environmental impact of the new SpaceX rocket, which exploded in flight after three minutes during the last test in Texas.
The FFA issued a five-year flight license to SpaceX in mid-April for this rocket, the largest in the world, developed and tested by the company in Boca Chica, in the far south of the state. On April 20, Elon Musk’s company launched Starship for the first time, but the rocket encountered anomalies, forcing SpaceX to activate the self-destruct command, which triggered its explosion above the sea. , just a few minutes after takeoff. The launch pad itself was partially destroyed by the power of the machine’s engines, sending debris and pieces of concrete flying.
“The launch area is next to habitats of protected species and migratory birds, such as the Kemp’s tortoise or the piping plover”said in a statement the Center for Biological Diversity, pointing out that the test had “sprayed the surroundings with particles” fine. The organization also cited noise and light pollution linked to the space base, as well as the fire outbreaks caused.
BREAKING: The Center and allies just filed a lawsuit over SpaceX following the massive rocket explosion in South Texas.
The launch site sits next to prime habitat for protected species like the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and the piping plover. https://t.co/2VAt7roJk9
— Center for Biological Diversity (@CenterForBioDiv) May 1, 2023
Debris over more than 10 km
In granting its license, the US Aviation Agency imposed a number of constraints on SpaceX, including an assessment of the fauna and flora by a biologist, before and after takeoff. Any debris should also be cleaned up. But these measures “are not sufficient to prevent the flight program from causing significant environmental damage”argued the Center for Biological Diversity.
Contacted by AFP, the FAA said it did not comment on ongoing litigation. The April 20 test flight caused a fire of about 1.5 hectares in Boca Chica Regional Park, south of the launch pad, according to the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. ). “The aftermath of the take-off includes numerous pieces of concrete, steel plates, metals and other objects thrown hundreds of meters, and a cloud of pulverized concrete deposited material” up to more than 10 km northwest of the launch pad, detailed the federal services. However, no animal was found dead on the land managed by these services, they added in a statement sent to AFP.