NASA is preparing to build new rocket launch site at Cape Canaveral for SpaceX’s Starship

NASA is preparing to build new rocket launch site at Cape Canaveral for SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy spacecraft

  • SpaceX has requested NASA conducted an  environmental assessments of its Launch Complex 49 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • The request is so SpaceX can build a new Starship launch pad at the site
  • Elon Musk shared news of a Starship launch pad in Florida on December 3










SpaceX is moving forward with its plans to construct a new Starship launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

The Elon Musk-led company requested the American space agency conduct environmental assessments of its Launch Complex 49, which is an unbuilt launch facility located at the northern end of the center.

Musk announced plans of setting up an orbital launch pad for the massive rocket on December 3, but only sharing in a tweet that construction has begun.

‘The 175-acre site, located north of Launch Complex 39B within the center’s security perimeter, would support the launch and landing of the company’s Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle,’ NASA shared in a press release released Wednesday evening.

‘NASA and SpaceX are moving forward with the initial environmental analysis before concluding a potential agreement to develop the property.’

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SpaceX has requested NASA conduct environmental assessments of its Launch Complex 49, which is an unbuilt launch facility located at the northern end of the center.

When Musk announced plans to move his Starship launches to Florida, it was believed the launch pad would be located at Complex 39 where SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets launch into space.

Cape Canaveral is also the company’s spot to launch Starlink satellites into orbit, along with cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station – but Wednesday’s announcements shows it is Complex 49.

Tom Engler, Kennedy’s director of center planning and development, said in a statement: ‘LC-49 has been a part of Kennedy’s master plan for several years.’

However, the spaceport sits on land that is shared with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, which means it is home to threatened and endangered species.

The launch site would host SpaceX's Starship rockets, which currently only fly out of its Boca Chica, Texas facility

The launch site would host SpaceX’s Starship rockets, which currently only fly out of its Boca Chica, Texas facility

Cape Canaveral is also the company’s spot to launch Starlink satellites into orbit, along with cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station - which is done from Complex 39 (pictured)

Cape Canaveral is also the company’s spot to launch Starlink satellites into orbit, along with cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station – which is done from Complex 39 (pictured)

And therefore, NASA must complete environmental assessments before SpaceX can break ground.

We work hard to achieve a balance between spaceport growth and operations and environmental stewardship,” Dankert said. “It’s through the environmental programs that we are able to preserve and protect our unique and valuable natural resources while achieving NASA’s mission and values.”

NASA will begin inter-agency and public scoping for the proposed LC-49 Environmental Assessment in early 2022. Scoping is a part of the NEPA process through which a federal agency describes a proposed action and potential alternatives.

Musk announced plans of setting up an orbital launch pad for the massive rocket on December 3, but only sharing in a tweet that construction has begun

Musk announced plans of setting up an orbital launch pad for the massive rocket on December 3, but only sharing in a tweet that construction has begun

SpaceX is currently awaiting the results of another environmental review from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before it can launch a Starship from its facility in Boca Chica, Texas

SpaceX is currently awaiting the results of another environmental review from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before it can launch a Starship from its facility in Boca Chica, Texas

The agency will then seek input from other agencies, organizations, and the public on potentially affected resources, environmental issues, and the agency’s planned approach to analysis.

SpaceX is currently awaiting the results of another environmental review from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before it can launch a Starship from its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The FAA announced in November that it would complete the review on December 31, which means SpaceX could get back to testing its Starship rockets – a key player in Musk’s goal to colonize Mars.

The massive rocket, once perfected, will shuttle millions of people and tons of cargo from Earth to the Red Planet.

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