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Environmental Activists Sue FAA Over SpaceX Starship Rocket Launch

Environmental Activists Sue FAA Over SpaceX Starship Rocket Launch

On the other hand, China is rolling right along with its long-range plans for a lunar mission.

The last time we checked in on SpaceX, its Starship had experienced a spectacular “flight termination” over Texas and engineers were pleased with the project’s progress, which is slated to be used for the upcoming lunar missions.

Environmentalists are suing the government for permitting the launch, asserting that the proper impact assessments were not done.

Conservation groups sued the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday, challenging its approval of expanded rocket launch operations by Elon Musk’s SpaceX next to a national wildlife refuge in South Texas without requiring greater environmental study.

The lawsuit comes 11 days after SpaceX made good on a new FAA license to send its next-generation Starship rocket on its first test flight, ending with the vehicle exploding over the Gulf of Mexico after blasting the launchpad to ruins on liftoff.

The shattering force of the launch hurled chunks of reinforced concrete and metal shrapnel thousands of feet from the site, adjacent to the Lower Rio Grand Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Boca Chica State Park and Beach.

The blast also ignited a 3.5-acre (1.4-hectare) brush fire and sent a cloud of pulverized concrete drifting 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to the northwest and raining down over tidal flats and the nearby town of Port Isabel, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Additionally, the launches are also getting in the way of indigenous ceremonies.

Such closures are a hardship for the native Carrizo/Comecrudo people, affecting their ability to hold ceremonies in the area, the lawsuit states.

“The Carrizo/Comecrudo people’s sacred lands are once again being threatened by imperialist policies that treat our cultural heritage as less valuable than corporate interests,” Juan Mancias, tribal chair of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas, Inc., said in the same statement.

“Boca Chica is central to our creation story,” Mancias added. “But we have been cut off from the land our ancestors lived on for thousands of years due to SpaceX, which is using our ancestral lands as a sacrifice zone for its rockets.”

It appears that only now are activists really honing in and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his plans for the area.

Musk, who also co-founded electric-vehicle maker Tesla, is trying to incorporate Boca Chica and the surrounding area as the city of Starbase, Texas. He announced SpaceX’s plan on Twitter on March 2: “Creating the city of Starbase, Texas” and “From thence to Mars, and hence the stars.”

The area’s isolation was part of the draw for SpaceX, giving it a freedom of action it wouldn’t have at a busy launch site such as NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, said Eric Berger, senior space editor at technology website Ars Technica.

“They are moving so fast it boggles the mind,” he said of SpaceX activity in South Texas.

Activists in the Rio Grande Valley were “asleep at the switch” when SpaceX revealed its plans for Boca Chica in 2012, said Jim Chapman, president of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, a nonprofit that works to protect wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley.

I suspect Musk’s recent takeover of Twitter and embracing of free speech is another motive for this litigation interest.

On the other hand, China is rolling right along with its long-range plans for a lunar mission.

China is already working on the necessary hardware for landing astronauts on the moon. The country is developing a next-generation rocket to launch an upgraded crew spacecraft, while work is underway on a lunar lander.

The new rocket is scheduled for a test flight in 2027, while the new spacecraft has already flown an uncrewed mission.

Wu Yansheng, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, presented an animated sequence earlier this year giving an impression of what the future Chinese crewed lunar landing might look like.

The mission referred to by Wu Weiren would allow a short-term stay on the lunar surface. But China is also eyeing building a permanent base, known as the International Lunar Research Station, which is planned to be constructed in the 2030s.

Chinese efforts are not likely to be hindered by lawsuits or diversity antics.


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Next I’ll be suing all of humanity because, during the process of respiration, you exhale 40 times as much carbon dioxide as you inhale.

When will someone just tell them to pound sand ?

    henrybowman in reply to OldLawman. | May 3, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    It’s “sacred” sand.
    I’ve been meaning to look at how to get my ranch classified as “sacred land’. It seems to come with even better benefits than “homesteading.”

    4fun in reply to OldLawman. | May 3, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    pedo joe’s doj will admit guilt and offer to fund the group for the next ten years at a billion a year. How else do you think they get all their money to keep this crap going?

henrybowman | May 3, 2023 at 7:56 pm

Here comes the Uh-Oh Squad.
“OMG, somebody might be achieving something —
we have to stop him!”

BierceAmbrose | May 3, 2023 at 7:57 pm

He’s not killing enough raptors for this to be a real environmental initiative.

Oh, wait. Those aren’t real birds, just what they named rocket engines.


BierceAmbrose | May 3, 2023 at 7:58 pm

Oh waitt. Whales. I meant he’s not killing enough whales to be a real environmental initiative.

BierceAmbrose | May 3, 2023 at 8:00 pm

No, no, no, no, no, no. no. It’s salmon. He’s not killing nearly as many salmon as the enviro damns they bragged about for decaed in the NW. entire river-runs of them.

And watersheds. Forest watersheds doing worse, traced back to the lack of fish-fixed nitrogen when they don’t expire up stream after spawning.

    gonzotx in reply to BierceAmbrose. | May 3, 2023 at 11:21 pm

    Obviously you haven’t been to that part of Texas

    Lots of rattlers, they even caution you with signs as you use public bathrooms on the highway

Socratease | May 3, 2023 at 8:01 pm

Crabs in a bucket.

BierceAmbrose | May 3, 2023 at 8:06 pm

Also, a bounded brush fire?

Amateur. You want fire management policies that turn entire regions into tinderboxes. You know, one spark and the whole thing burns beyond anyone’s control and many people’s, and critter’s escape.

For Von Braun’s sake; Space-X rockets are already spewing sky scraper-sized blowtorches in their regular flights. They spew more flame sideways on launch than mere concrete can contain. They land their boosters in multiple locations. And their development program includes pushing experiments to failure.

With all this they couldn’t light a single species-crushing wild fire? These people are not serious.

BierceAmbrose | May 3, 2023 at 8:08 pm

Oh, yeah.

‘Spodey rockets not doing so good contaminating watersheds. Guess you need the overseers to turn a thriving river orange with a whole mine’s tailings.

These are the very people who should be placed in the rocket since they qualify as space cadets already. I am certain we can convince them to attack the runaway green house gas issue on Venus.

    henrybowman in reply to alaskabob. | May 4, 2023 at 11:19 am

    “Save The Endangered Albedo!”

      alaskabob in reply to henrybowman. | May 4, 2023 at 2:49 pm

      Shining light on an important issue! A reflection of your concern!

      Cue Vangelis….

        BierceAmbrose in reply to alaskabob. | May 4, 2023 at 8:08 pm


        You guys are funny. Nice work.

        Crawford in reply to alaskabob. | May 5, 2023 at 5:19 pm

        Ah, you see Vangelis released Albedo 0.39 in 1976. The big scare then was the Coming Ice Age.

        Albedo is the measure of how much energy a planet reflects back to space without trapping it into the atmosphere. One of the supposed triggers for the Coming Ice Age was dust increasing the Earth’s albedo, reducing the average temperature, creating more ice and snow coverage that, again, increases the albedo. In another of the castastrophists’ beloved positive feedback loops.

6,000,000 illegal aliens pouring over the Rio Grande destroying wildlife and the lands surrounding it and nothing out of these groups so concerned about the environment? They can shut up now

    diver64 in reply to diver64. | May 4, 2023 at 3:00 am

    Oh, and as for the “Carrizo/Comecrudo” they were only in Mexico and even at that they were all gone by the 1880’s. Not sure who that nut is coming out of the woodwork but he probably see’s some money involved.

We really need to start mass beatings of these loons.

Democrats are mad because Elon Musk bought Twitter.

What a crappy country we live in. There is no other way to say it. The most loathsome people in the country rule us now. We will simply not be allowed to progress. The Earth-worshippers control all the levers of power. They hate humanity and themselves. They are a suicide cult.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to mike6972. | May 4, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    I had such fun just last week, having a pleasant conversation with someone trying to understand things, so pissed off an eavesdroper he stalked off in a petullant frenzy. It might have been when I said:

    “At least Extinction Rebellion is up front about it. They won’t be happy until the last breeding pair is terminated by the righteous eco-warriors with their sustainably-produced bamboo arrows. Then Gaia can go on without the aweful human infestation she’s been suffering under.”

    At least I think it was that. Could have been any number of other things…

Neither Congress nor the FAA can establish a native religion as law of the land.

“The Carrizo/Comecrudo people’s sacred lands are once again being threatened by imperialist policies that treat our cultural heritage as less valuable than corporate interests,”
Dude, you lost in the game of civilizations. Accept it and move on.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to GWB. | May 4, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Who’s cultural heritage?

    You say “imperialism”; I say “heritage of a culture that works — you can tell because it keeps running over the other ones, mostly by working better, doing more, different, better, where those other guys were.”

    Maybe “imperialism” is shorter — easier to say.

Who is funding the lawsuit, commie China?

BierceAmbrose | May 4, 2023 at 8:23 pm

And another thing…

Prematurely end-of-lifeing windmill blades being ground — by a subsidised “industry”, into irreducable fibers, being layered — with special dispensation, and permitting, into landfills creating physically impenetrable barriers with as yet unknown chemical, physical, and leaching impacts.

Nobody knows how to drill through or build on this stuff, leaving landfills permanent scars. *Nobody knows how to life-cycle fiber-containing composites. They’re like modern tires — physically near indestructable, with gook inclusions besides.

Not killing off one species or ecosystem for this one, just keeping the landfills from ever becoming anything else, or being mined, extracted, or recovered for materials.