Sunday, June 8, 2014

Shades of the Massachusetts' State Fire Marshall

Back in the early part of the last century, Massachusetts' State Fire Marshall forced rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard to move his test facility to a military base, because he did not like Goddard's experiments conducted on private property.

Now we have the Brownsville, TX SpaceX Spaceport getting a much heavier hand of bureaucratic nonsense: (via Slashdot)
"It turns out that the recent FAA environmental impact statement that seemed to give a stamp of approval for the proposed SpaceX space port in south Texas is not the end of the regulatory process, but the end of the beginning. A story in the Brownsville Herald reminds us that the report has kicked off a 30 day review period after which the FAA can allow SpaceX to apply for a launch license to start work on the Brownsville area launch facility. And that in turn kicks off a 180 day process during which the FAA makes the decision whether or not to grant the required licensing and permits. 
But even that is not the end of the regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must face before the first Falcon rocket roars into the skies over the Gulf of Mexico. The Longview News-Journal reports that a number of state and federal agencies must give their approval for various aspects of the space port before it becomes operational. For instance, the Texas Department of Transportation must give approval for the movement of utility lines. Environment Texas still opposes the space port since it is close to a wild life reserve and a state park. SpaceX has already agreed to enact measures to minimize the impact the space port would have on the environment, 'such as containing waste materials from the construction and enforcing a speed limit in the control center area.' Environment Texas is not impressed, however. Whether it is disposed to make trouble in the courts is an open question."
And a hat tip to Glenn Reynolds:
JUNE 8, 2014

SPACE: Senate’s NASA budget bill may hamper commercial spacecraft makers. Which is not an accident.
So to revisit, here’s our current space strategy: Step one: Rely on Russian rockets. Step two: Put in place sanctions that get Russian rockets cut off, forcing reliance on American commercial launchers. Step three: Put the squeeze on American commercial launchers.
Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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