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SpaceX faces another lawsuit over harm to Texas bird habitats

SpaceX faces another lawsuit over harm to Texas bird habitats SpaceX launching (Getty Images)

SpaceX is currently under increased pressure from environmental groups over potential harm to critical habitats close to rocket launch sites. Recently, these groups filed a complaint alleging that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not adequately assess the environmental impacts of SpaceX Starship launches from the Starbase facility in southern Texas, according to USA Today and Space News.

The complaint specifically accuses the FAA of issuing a revised license for the second Starship launch on November 18 without conducting a thorough environmental review following the initial launch. Reports say that the launch attracted hundreds of viewers that vandalized local habitats critical to shorebirds in Boca Chica, habitats that had taken decades to develop.

“Failing to do an in-depth environmental review and letting SpaceX keep launching the world’s largest rockets that repeatedly explode shows a shocking disregard for wildlife and communities,” an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity Jared Margolis said, adding that SpaceX should not be given unrestricted access to the area as a "sacrifice zone."

The lawsuit coincides with SpaceX planning a weather-delayed Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The upcoming launch aims to deploy a batch of Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

The Center for Biological Diversity highlights in a statement the surroundings of SpaceX's Boca Chica launch site, including state parks, national wildlife refuge lands, and vital habitats for imperiled wildlife such as piping plovers, Northern Aplomado Falcons, Gulf Coast jaguarundi, ocelots, and the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

SpaceX launches

On December 7, SpaceX conducted another launch of Starlink satellites into space. 23 satellites have been deployed into orbit.

On November 17, SpaceX once again postponed the launch of its Starship rocket. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, revealed that technical issues arose during the launch, mentioning the need to replace a grid fin actuator.