FAA Starbase environmental review decision now two weeks away, June 13

Fully stacked starship

The FAA once again moved the date for when it intends to release the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for launching Starship from SpaceX’s Starbase facility. Initially intended for today, the administration is now looking to release Starbase’s PEA on June 13, or “in two weeks.”

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Starship/Super Heavy Final Environmental Assessment to be released by the year-end

As SpaceX and the FAA work towards closing out the Starship/Super Heavy Environmental Assessment, more details have been released. Transcripts from the two virtual public hearings about the PEA were released along with an estimated timeline for the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment being released. This date is currently December 31, 2021.

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FAA’s Starship public hearings were filled with valid complaints and Elon Musk fandom

This week the FAA hosted two public comment hearings for SpaceX’s Starship facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Both sessions lasted for about five hours, with over 100 commenters speaking with more not making the time cut. The hearings had two overall points made by commenters, “SpaceX is hurting our environment and way of life” and “move out of the way FAA and let Elon do Elon things.”

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FAA bows out of way in time for next Virgin Galactic spaceflight

Virgin Galactic was in some hot water after deviating from the original flight plan and flying outside of the approved airspace during Richard Branson’s spaceflight in July. The FAA has finished its investigation into the mishap by Virgin Galactic.

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[Update: FAA grounds SpaceShipTwo] Virgin Galactic responds to FAA investigation over Unity 22 flight deviation

During July’s Unity 22 spaceflight of Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, The New Yorker reports that the pilots deviated off their approved course. In the report, they state the FAA has begun an investigation; Virgin Galactic replies.

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Who makes the cut for FAA Astronaut Wings?

Over the last two weeks, we saw the first two private commercial space flights. Both companies pinned their participants with their versions of “Astronaut Wings” but are they real astronauts? The FAA just released their requirements for the title of astronaut.

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If SpaceX’s Starship doesn’t go orbital this year, this report will be why

SpaceX has been steamrolling towards their orbital Starship attempt out of Boca Chica since the SN15 launch. However, we are still months away from a possible attempt. The reason? Darn FAA Environmental Reviews.

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Environmentalists upset over FAA environmental assessment process for SpaceX in Boca Chica

For over a year, SpaceX has been developing its next-generation rocket Starship near the small neighborhood of Boca Chica Village in Texas near the Mexican border. It wasn’t until June of last year that the Federal Aviation Administration which licenses airspace started an environmental assessment of the rapid expansion of SpaceX facilities there.

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FAA clarifies supersonic flight rules as Boom XB-1 jet hopes to break Mach 1.3 this year

Supersonic flight is set to make a comeback and go further than ever before in this decade. Today the Federal Aviation Administration published new guidance to support this effort by clarifying existing policy and potentially streamlining the regulatory side of supersonic testing.

The Department of Transportation currently does not authorize supersonic flight by default. This means developing and testing technology like Boom’s XB-1 supersonic jet will require special authorization from the DOT and FAA to fly over Mach 1 speeds.

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Airports may soon be getting a big upgrade, thanks to NASA’s AeroMACS technology

The technology used by airports to communicate with aircraft appears to be relatively advanced, but this is the opposite of the truth upon closer inspection. Outdated technology that relies heavily on voice communications is what you actually see, and that creates problems.

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Biden picks Pete Buttigieg to run agency that oversees commercial space launches

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is President-Elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation. If confirmed by the Senate, Buttigieg would oversee the Depart of Transportation which includes the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is responsible for licensing commercial space launches.

U.S. Department of Transportation sees record number of commercial space launches in 2020

The year 2020 has been record breaking for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with 35 licensed commercial space launches. Of course, there will also likely be even more launches achieved before year’s end, probably bringing the number close to 40.

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