SpaceX Joins the FAA to Defend Starship Amidst Environmental Impact Controversy
A lawsuit targeting Elon Musk’s SpaceX, initiated by environmental activists and cultural heritage nonprofits, is set to have a new ally on the defense: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The lawsuit was sparked by the fiery outcome of Starship’s maiden flight last month — a stark reminder of the explosive risks tied to pioneering cosmic frontiers.
On Friday, SpaceX filed a motion, asking federal judge Carl Nichols to permit it to rally beside the FAA in defense against the plaintiffs, which include environmental groups and heritage advocates. Surprisingly, according to court documents, the plaintiffs do not object to SpaceX’s intervention. This response isn't entirely unexpected; Jared Margolis, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity and the plaintiffs' lead counsel, commented that intervention by the applicant in cases concerning their permits is fairly standard.
The plaintiffs have accused the FAA of being lax in their duty to conduct comprehensive environmental studies on SpaceX's activities. They contend that the organization should have scrutinized the environmental impacts of launching the world's largest rocket, the Starship, from SpaceX’s Starbase, nestled on the Gulf Coast near Brownsville, Texas.