According to CNBC reports, SpaceX may have violated environmental regulations by failing to apply for an environmental permit when using its rocket-launched “flame deflector” system.
The system, which is designed to reduce the “tremendous heat and force” generated by its Starship launch, underwent a full stress test on Friday. But the water used by the system can contain contaminants that flow into ecosystems around SpaceX’s Starship Super Heavy launch site, including the Gulf of Mexico.
As of Thursday, SpaceX had not obtained the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit needed to discharge such wastewater at the launch site, a representative of the Texas Council on Environmental Quality said. The representative also said it has not yet been determined whether SpaceX violated environmental regulations. SpaceX could be fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for any violations.
Elon Musk previously stated that the investment in the SpaceX starship project in 2023 will be close to 3 billion U.S. dollars.