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Posted 03 April 2014 - 23:19
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Posted 11 April 2014 - 14:39
SpaceX clears hurdle
Feds say project ‘not likely to jeopardize’ wildlife
SpaceX has taken a major step forward in its proposal to develop the world’s first private and commercial vertical launch site and control center in Cameron County, the Valley Morning Star has found.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its final Biological and Conference Opinion on the proposal, finding that the project at Boca Chica “is not likely to jeopardize” the continued existence of the ocelot, sea turtles, jaguarundi and aplomado falcon, nor “adversely modify” critical habitat for the piping plover, a bird that migrates to the Boca Chica beach area in winter.
The federal opinion also contains specific recommendations and conditions to avoid and minimize impact to species in the area.
Furthermore, the federal agency says in the opinion that the Federal Aviation Administration determined the proposed project “may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect,” the West Indian manatee, an aquatic mammal protected by federal law.
“We concur and understand that in order to protect these species, FAA will ensure precautions and education outreach efforts will be enforced,” the opinion states.
Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Thursday afternoon.
The pivotal development comes in advance of FAA’s issuance of the final environmental impact statement on the SpaceX proposal and its ultimate decision, called a “Record of Decision.”
“This is a critical step,” Cameron County Administrator Pete Sepulveda Jr. said of the developments. “This is great news. It is a critical part of the project. It will ensure that the project gets final clearance from the FAA.”
Nick Serafy, chairman of the Cameron County Space Port Development Corp., established to facilitate the development of the aerospace industry in Cameron County starting with SpaceX’s project, said this bodes well for the project.
“I am delighted that we are moving in a positive direction and getting closer to a final report from the Federal Aviation Administration,” he said.
FAA spokesman Hank Price on Thursday told the Valley Morning Star that the FAA hopes to issue the final environmental impact study on SpaceX’s proposal in May.
“Following issuance of the final EIS, the FAA will have 30 days to work with the consulting agencies to discuss any potential mitigation issues, alternatives, other issues contained in the final EIS, and issue a Record of Decision,” Price said.
The project site is off State Highway 4, about a quarter-mile from Boca Chica Beach and about three miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. It is located about 6.5 miles south of Port Isabel and 18 miles east of Brownsville along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.
With nearly 50 launches on its manifest representing about $5 billion in contracts, the California-based SpaceX plans to invest $73,650,000 in the Boca Chica project, public records show.
The proposal calls for a commercial orbital complex at the Boca Chica site for the launch of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital rockets and other smaller reusable suborbital vehicles. All Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches would carry commercial payloads, including satellites or experimental payloads, for delivery to the International Space Station. Besides standard payloads, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy also could carry a capsule, such as the SpaceX Dragon capsule.
SpaceX’s investments in Cameron County, which started in 2012, continued into 2014 with the purchase of more tracts of land, bringing the total number of lots it now owns to 90, the Star found.
The total land area that SpaceX now owns through Dogleg Park LLC is roughly 37 acres, public records show. This is in addition to 56.5 acres that SpaceX has under lease. The California-based firm also has developed a subdivision called “Mars Crossing.”
Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:49
Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:42
Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:59
RUSSIAN TUG OFF FLORIDA: SUPPORTING NUCLEAR ATTACK SUBS OR OBSERVING SPACEX LAUNCH?
The Russian tug “Nikolay Chiker” is an ocean tag that has often deployed alongside Russian Navy’s high value assets. According to Information Dissemination, the ship accompanied Russia’s spy ship Viktor Leonovto Cuba last month, before moving off Florida, where it was parked on Mar. 15, ahead of the launch of Dragon spacecraft (Space Shuttle Orbiter replacement) on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket scheduled of Mar. 16 from the SLC-40Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
However, the SpaceX launch was delayed and, since then, the ship has moved back and forth along U.S. East coast: it headed southbound, has made a port visit to Curacao, then it has operated in the Caribbean Sea and eventually returned more or less where it was on Mar. 15 and it is right now: off Cape Canaveral.
The fact that the tug moved off Cape Kennedyin the days of the scheduled launch of SpaceX and returned there in anticipation of the new launch window suggests that the “Nilolay Chiker” is somehow interested in observing the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft on the company’s third commercial resupply mission and fourth visit to the space station.
However, there’s someone who suggested that the ocean tug is actually supporting Russian nuclear attack submarines monitoring U.S. Navy East coast bases.
Hard to say.
For sure the Russian tug is not there by accident. During the Cold War, Russian and Americans have monitored each others special special operations, military exercises,invasions, maiden flights etc. This is not changed with the collapse of the USSR. On the contrary, close encounters (as the one in the Black Sea) and reciprocal snooping are probably going to increase.
Posted 18 April 2014 - 16:43
then, if launch will fail, Musk can claim evil(ish) russians for some kind of sabotage hmmm.. mobile haarp, gravity lens or Just too many vodka clouds & bad drunken bears everywhere
Posted 22 April 2014 - 19:09