Huge SpaceX Rocket Explosion In Texas Today

May 30, 2020

 

No. Not the manned flight that has been rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon from Kennedy Space Center.

 

This was the fourth consecutive explosion of a SpaceX test vehicle at Boca Chica, Texas:

 

​Full video:

https://youtu.be/kZYPnxfjoCY

 

Why is this a Spaceport Camden story?

 

In 2014 & 2015, Camden spaceport promoters used competition with Texas to justify moving forward with Spaceport Camden. Although SpaceX was just toying with us (and others) to negotiate a better deal with Texas, SpaceX rockets appeared on the www.spaceportcamden.us webpage and the SpaceX Falcon 9 specifications were used in our Draft EIS. Compare the two images below to see how much Camden copied SpaceX's plan:

 

 

​SpaceX went to Texas. After 5 years of doing nothing, they changed their plans to much, much larger experimental rockets. In the past year, the result has been four spectacular explosions. even today, SpaceX does not have a launch site operator license for Boca Chica.

 

The FAA allowed SpaceX to change from the licensed and tested Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy to the much, much larger, never-tested Starship. The changes from the approved 2014 EIS and Record of Decision were made without public participation using a back-door method called "Written Re-evaluations." The resulting test launches were so much more dangerous the FAA changed the third-party launch insurance from $3 million to $100 million. The 2014 Final EIS told Boca Chica residents the launch site would work normal daytime hours and that they might be inconvenienced by one night launch a year. The FAA changes resulted in 24/7 work within a few hundred feet of homes. Residents had to pass the Sheriff's checkpoints just to get to their homes. Heavy construction, experiments, and explosions routinely occurred at night. Eventually, SpaceX made the Boca Chica residents an 'offer they couldn't refuse' to buy them out. SpaceX wielded the threat of eminent domain to buy out most of the village. SpaceX needed an empty pallet for its dangerous work: “We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, and so if it blows up, it’s cool.” —Elon Musk, 2018

 

All of this could have ended up in Camden County had SpaceX been really serious about their flirtation here. They could have bought the Union Carbide property for petty cash if it had suited their purpose.  That's what they did at Boca Chica. Camden officials make regular inferences that Camden was "almost" selected for the Apollo moon program and that we had a "heritage" of Thiokol rocket tests to prove this is the right place for rocket launches. But Thiokol's program failed, leaving its contaminants in Camden County. The Apollo launch sites would have been on Cumberland Island, directly on the beachfront like they are at Kennedy Space Center and Boca Chica. Commissioners don't seem to know the history they use to bolster their plan.

 

Which brings us to the point of this post:

 

District 1 Commissioner Lannie Brant is running for re-election. He recently told the Tribune & Georgian that "Spaceport Camden will go down as one of the great environmental redevelopment projects in the United States." To our knowledge, this is the first time a Commissioner has publically stated that taxpayers will be on the hook for remediation of the environmental contamination on the site. Brant and his fellow Commissioners have chosen to keep the purchase agreements secret for the past FIVE years. But what we already know is alarming. For starters, Camden taxpayers have to purchase a $10,000,000 Environmental Liability Policy that protects Union Carbide! That's because Union Carbide, Rhone-Poulenc, and Bayer disposed of millions of pounds of contaminants over and in the property. (See attached Bayer record. See more detail at www.spaceportpetition.org)

 

NOW, add the absolute responsibility and ultimate liability of Camden citizens for the inevitable rocket explosions on and over the County-owned launch site, plus the harm to our marshes and Cumberland Island that will result from the smallest rocket crash.

 

The FAA has warned Camden that they might get their spaceport operator license, and never get a license to launch a rocket. If Brant and our other Commissioners think that a spaceport is the best way to bring jobs to Camden, they might be thinking of disaster mitigation teams, firefighters, and lawyers.

 

Without any proof or evidence that non-NASA spaceports create substantial jobs, and after five years of trying, they don't have a single space company contract for Spaceport Camden.

 

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