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SpaceX Rivals Raise Concerns about Starship-Super Heavy Coming to Florida
SpaceX’s plan to launch its monstrous Starship-Super Heavy two-stage tandem from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center caught the attention — and concern — of two rival space companies that warn federal officials the up-to-492-foot-tall rocket will be too untested, too dangerous and too potentially disruptive for the nation’s busiest spaceport and the surrounding environment. United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin — which both have significant footprints on the Space Coast and view SpaceX as direct competition — have submitted written concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration. Phil Metzger is director of the Stephen W. Hawking Center for Microgravity Research & Education at the University of Central Florida. In an email, he said he thinks the ULA statement about Starship is fair, because it asks the FAA to do its job while noting potential impacts on the environment, neighboring communities, and launch operations of other companies at the Cape. “They noted that it is in the national interest to have multiple healthy launch companies for assured access to space so the operations of one company should not shut down its competitors. I think this is all legitimate and should be emphasized,” Metzger said. However, he said he thinks Blue Origin made “a serious mistake” by suggesting a cap on the Starship launch rate. “This would be the least creative and least helpful solution for potential problems at the Cape,” Metzger said.
Florida Today