The majority of public comments received by the Federal Aviation Administration at an online hearing on Zoom were in favor of the construction of Elon Musk's next-generation space vehicle, which NASA hopes to employ in its Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon's surface.
Numerous individuals got the chance to express their opinions to the U.S. government on Monday on SpaceX's plan to launch Starship into orbit from "Starbase," the company's launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas.
The hearing was held to gather feedback on a draft of the FAA's Environmental Assessment for the program, which is required by the National Environmental Policy Act before the agency can give SpaceX a launch license for Starship's first orbital mission.
On Monday, for more than three hours, members of the public who had pre-registered were given three minutes apiece to present their oral public views on Starship and the draft.
SpaceX has already completed a high-altitude flight and landing of a Starship prototype (following several flights that disassembled during the landing phase) and plans to launch the latest version into orbit from Texas, with a landing of its Super Heavy booster on an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico and a soft water landing of Starship off the coast of Hawaii.
The majority of people were in favor of SpaceX, albeit many of the positive remarks came from outside of Texas. A lesser number of people were also concerned about the effects on local ecosystems and wildlife in the Boca Chica area.
The area is home to ten endangered species, including an ocelot, a piping plover, and five types of sea turtles, according to Sharon Wilcox, senior Texas representative for Defenders of Wildlife.
Many people expressed praise for SpaceX, Musk, and his rockets, but many also emphasized the benefits of decades of space exploration, including new technology like GPS and satellite connectivity.
The FAA will continue to gather public comments through Zoom on Wednesday, as well as in writing until the end of the month.
The draft environmental assessment's second and final public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. PT. You can register for the event and leave a comment on the website. Email is also an option for leaving a comment.