Fri, Sep 01, 2006
Company Must Halt Construction If Remains, Artifacts Found On
Could the first
privately-owned spaceport in the United States be located in
southwest Texas? Could be... as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos'
proposed suborbital space launch center near the town of Van Horn
moved one step closer to opening this week, after receiving a
passing grade on an FAA environmental impact study.
MSNBC reports the FAA's Office of Commercial Space
Transportation issued Blue Origin its finding of no significant
impact on Tuesday, along with a final environmental assessment for
the site, which is being built on a ranch owned by Bezos.
As part of the approval process for its plans to launch its New
Shepard launch vehicle from the site, Blue Origin agreed to halt
construction should crews uncover any artifacts or remains that
As Aero-News reported in
July, Blue Origin aims to ultimately send the New
Shepard -- modelled on the single-stage Delta Clipper
Experimental (shown below) and Delta Clipper Experimental Advanced
(DC-XA) vehicles developed by the Department of Defense and NASA in
the 90s -- on commercial spaceflights to altitudes greater than
325,000 feet. The company will start out with a series of low
altitude tests, and build on those.
While the company hasn't completed development of the vehicle
just yet, Bezos said Blue Origin hopes to begin flight testing by
the end of this year, in anticipation of full-scale commercial
spaceflights launching in 2010.
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