Thumbs Up for Blue Origin

Worrying about Earth is a big part of going to space. Inconvenient or not, FAA/AST sure spends a lot of time dealing with NEPA assessments.

This week FAA/AST posted the Final Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Blue Origin West Texas Launch Site, which addressed the proposal from Blue Origin to construct and operate a commercial space launch site in Culberson County, Texas. And here is the signed Finding of No Significant Impact, giving Blue Origin the environmental green light on the first private commercial spaceport.

Environmental issues aside, the draft Blue Origin EA offered everyone the first good, inside look at
Jeff Bezos's plans for his hot space start-up. (After all, there are not a lot of books about Blue Origin for sale on Amazon.)

Interesting comment by Rand Simberg: "the spaceport will also be the first spaceport to be licensed for vertical takeoff and landing (Mojave and Burns Flat are only licensed for horizontal operations). I wonder if Jeff Bezos will be open to allowing others to operate from it? I'll bet that Armadillo and Masten would like to use it."

Also, if you missed it earlier this month, FAA posted the
X Prize Cup Draft Environmental Assessment covering separate experimental permits to applicants seeking to participate in the Vertical Rocket Challenge and the Lunar Lander Challenge at the X Prize Cup, and seeking FAA approval for revisions to the Airport Layout Plan for construction activities to support the X Prize Cup. The X Prize Cup of course, will take place at Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico, October 20-21, 2006. Public comment period on the draft EA ends on September 14, 2006.

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