MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – Construction continued Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center on a new launch site meant for use with SpaceX’s Starship, a behemoth rocket facing scrutiny due to concern over its sheer size and the potential damage its launches could cause to the surrounding environment.
SpaceX began to stack the tower last week, delivering segments of the structure from Texas to KSC and setting it up about 1,000 feet from where the company launches satellites and astronauts on its Falcon rockets at Launch Complex 39A, according to Spaceflight Now.
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NASA on Monday raised concern with SpaceX over fears that 39A could be damaged over time by the type of fuel CEO Elon Musk plans to use in Starships, a liquid oxygen and methane mixture reported by Reuters as not well known to NASA and U.S. regulators.
The company got environmental approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2019 to launch Starships in Florida, but the only launch sites in the U.S. that take astronauts to space are located on the Space Coast, and any damage (approved or not) could cut NASA off from performing crewed missions.
The new tower is expected to be more than 400 feet tall once completed. SpaceX hopes to use Starship rockets for everything from future launches of Starlink satellites to crewed moon and Mars missions.