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SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the come-see-the-matamoros-cult-killing-site dept.

Businesses 409

MarkWhittington writes "The proposed SpaceX space port in Brownsville, Texas, has run into opposition from an environmental group. Environment Texas is conducting a petition drive to stop the project. According to a news release by the group, the proposed space port, which would include a launch pad and control and spacecraft processing facilities, would be 'almost surrounded' by a park and wildlife refuge. Environment Texas claims the launching of rockets would 'scare the heck' out of every creature in the area and would 'spray noxious chemicals all over the place.' The petition will demand SpaceX build the space port elsewhere." I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

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Oh dear! (3, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195943)

Wouldn't want to scare Bambi now, would we?

HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195995)

Don't they know that they are standing in the way of the last escape from this polluted trap?

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (4, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196059)

Escape to where, exactly? Alarmist as they may be at times, environmentalists have a point: we all live here, and we haven't found anywhere else to populate. Evacuating the Earth is a fantasy even more remote from reality than the most extreme environmentalist solutions.

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196091)

Stop pissing in my Cheerios. I was raised on Star Trek, and won't take reality for an answer to faith in Scientism.

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (1)

thaiceman (2564009) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196251)

We can escape to all kinds of places, there are plenty of known planets in the "Goldilocks zone" which may** support life, unfortunately to get there we would have to significantly improve cryogenics or invent some form of faster then light travel.

There disaster averted you may now continue enjoying your bowl of Cheerios.

Did I mention that to get there it could take hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of years to get there?... Ohh well if you really want to escape I suppose your willing to wait the little bit of time to get there.....

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196263)

In the more specific case of this spaceport, I would be considering the fact that most rocket programs so far seem to have had trouble avoiding more or less alarming amounts of hydrazine seeping all over the place. SpaceX's use of RP-1, at least for present designs, makes that less of a concern; but rocket launching doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation.

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196319)

Brownsville, eh?

All I can do is hear "Smoking in the Boys Room" [wikipedia.org] in my head.....

Re:HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196315)

Escape??!! Why would I want that? I'm in fuckin' paradise, man! But I do think Beaumont would be a better choice. No signs of natural habitat within a hundred miles

To coin a phrase: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195945)

NIMBY nimrods.

Is that even legal? (5, Funny)

mycroft16 (848585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195951)

Having an environmental group in Texas? How is that even real? I don't believe Environment Texas actually exists. It is contrary to everything Texans stand for.

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195969)

It consists of unemployed people from California, who moved to Texas looking for work.

mod points... MOD POINTS....! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196027)

Where are you when I need you??

Re:mod points... MOD POINTS....! (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196175)

That and its tantamount in Texas to coming out of the closet as openly gay and vegan... "Hi, my name is Mike and I'm an environmentalist", "Oh, I need to introduce you to my cousin Steve!"

Move along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195981)

Why the hell is Slashdot giving this quacks even more publicity..

Re:Move along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196083)

which quacks - SpaceX or the Environmentalists?

Re:Move along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196167)

texas environmentalists

Re:Move along.. (3, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196207)

There's nothing wrong with having a little concern about the local wildlife. That said, SpaceX is providing a variety of exceptional opportunities for Texas, the Country, and the World. The infancy of private space exploration demands special consideration. Bring in the Nature Conservancy, identify any endangered species (if any are present, and move them someplace quieter.) Raise up a volunteer army on conservation folk (from other states ;-) and erect some noise barriers (or create anti-noise if that's a viable alternative. Take reasonable measures to make both sides good neighbor and let the good times roll.

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196055)

Texas has a lot of hunting folks, and they tend to be in favor of preserving the environment . . . the environment is great hunting land.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Funny)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196123)

Oh heck, just give 'em all SAMs and they can go hunt launching/landing spaceships. Problem solved.

But wait... which environment? (1, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196269)

Guess which 'environment' they're trying to protect?

That's right: the oil fields environment!

Re:But wait... which environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196287)

Don't forget the Ewing Ranch environment.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196271)

There are indeed environmental pressure groups in Texas. They're just way behind other environmental groups. For example, in California they're working on outlawing thunder because it too frightens wildlife.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

hemo_jr (1122113) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196317)

True, the term 'Texas environmentalist' is a non sequitur.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196353)

They just need to re-brand it. If they could convince the Texans that it was a really big gun instead of a rocket, they wouldn't have any opposition.

We're trying to leave... (1, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195953)

It's people like this that make me want to leave this planet. If you want the whole planet treated like some big national park then we can do that. Just let the portion of humanity that doesn't want to live like Luddites leave the planet.

It might take us awhile... but f'ing with us at this stage is not helping.

In all seriousness, if putting this facility in Texas isn't feasible where exactly on planet earth can we put it?

Oh I know... china.

I f'ing hate these people.

Re:We're trying to leave... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195993)

There's nothing wrong with treating most of the planet like a national park, IMO. The problem is that ecosystems aren't as fragile as these idiots think. Just spraying "chemicals" all over the place isn't going to hurt anything, nor will some extremely occasional noises scare any animals or plants into oblivion. Different ecosystems may have achille's heels. Science will help to identify those and other issues.

What definitely kills animals and plants is deforestation and destruction of the landscape, mostly (excluding extractive industries) committed by poor and indigent people all around the world because of lack of alternative economic opportunities.

Re:We're trying to leave... (2)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196133)

Damn chemicals, nature is already covered by dihydrogen monoxide!
Won't someone think of the plants animals?

Re:We're trying to leave... (1, Troll)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196163)

Just spraying "chemicals" all over the place isn't going to hurt anything, nor will some extremely occasional noises scare any animals or plants into oblivion. Different ecosystems may have achille's heels. Science will help to identify those and other issues.

Are your statements based on any 'science'? Do you know that Environment Texas' are not?

What definitely kills animals and plants is deforestation and destruction of the landscape, mostly (excluding extractive industries) committed by poor and indigent people all around the world because of lack of alternative economic opportunities.

So you are saying that industrial and other economic activity by rich economies isn't the major source of environmental degradation? Really?

Re:We're trying to leave... (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196217)

Why are you excluding extractive industry? That makes your point extremely disingenuous. What percentage of the Amazon is being deforested by indigenous peoples as compared to loggers working to build you cheap Cost Plus World Market furniture and lots of space for cattle monocultures? Try again. Science has already identified ecosystems' Achilles heels. The problem lies not with the science, but the politics and the unwillingness of the populace to do what is necessary to fix the issue. Insightful? Hardly.

Re:We're trying to leave... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196401)

"There's nothing wrong with treating most of the planet like a national park, IMO. The problem is that ecosystems aren't as fragile as these idiots think."

True, however the real problem is that it doesn't matter where you put it. These people will find a reason that they don't like it and sue you over it. Be it on behalf of birds, deer, whales or some insect no one has ever heard of.

IMO, most of the extreme environmentalists are anti-technology (which is ironic since they seem to think tech will save us). They don't care what you want to build or where you want to build it. They oppose everything that in anyway alters the environment, especially if it uses electricity. If you actually look at the energy usage many of them consider "reasonable" it's about equivalent to the whole output of the United States cerca 1900. Do they pay any attention to the fact that 1900 was about as polluted as you can get and that technology has helped us clean up and reverse a lot of that damage? Of course not.

Look at the arguments these idiots use: coal is too dirty. OK, let's use nuclear, hydro and geothermal. Nope, hydro disrupts the fish (we'll sue you on their behalf), geothermal requires digging into the ground and the displaced dirt and rock has to go somewhere (we'll sue you on behalf of something that lives somewhere near where you want to put the mine tailings). Nuclear is "unsafe" (and we'll sue you if you try to dispose of the waste safely... heck we'll sue you just for trying to build a new plant because it's unsafe for reasons we're not really sure about but we just have this gut feeling it's not safe).

OK... how about wind power? Disrupts the migratory patters of birds.

You can't win with these retards. They want the vast majority of the population to starve to death in the dark.

Keep in mind these are the same morons that munch on food that says "No Chemicals!" on the package. What do they think they eating? Every bit of matter is made up of chemicals until you get to the sub-atomic level.

Re:We're trying to leave... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196017)

They may actually have a point you know, since they actually live there. I don't have enough information either way, why so quick to judge?

Re:We're trying to leave... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196049)

Troll

Re:We're trying to leave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196143)

Not at all.

Re:We're trying to leave... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196099)

Just because you care about the environment, it doesn't mean that you are a Luddite. Conversely, carefully and responsibly handling the use of technology to ensure it doesn't cause unintended harm raises the trust people have in technology as well as science, and thus making it easier to develop and implement technology. Instead of being careful, you seem to quickly and categorically denounce people who protest a technology project, not considering that sometimes, people who care about the environment actually have a point. And if you take a look at the map linked to in TFA, you can see the space port would basically be surrounded on all sides by the park. Of all the potential locations that could affect the environment, that one seems like one of the worst.

Besides, they don't exactly sound like Luddites to me:

"“I love the space program as much, if not more, than anyone,” said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger."

The thing I don't understand is why they absolutely want this location despite the risk to the environment it would have. Isn't there plenty of suitable locations in the USA that aren't literally surrounded by a state park? I have a lot of trouble believing that the only alternative is China.

Re:We're trying to leave... (1, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196179)

Why NOT put it overseas?

MAN needs to explore space. Mankind doesn't need the US to do it.

The mission of the USA is now enforcement of corporate globalism.

We have ceased to be a force for good, and development of other nations would provide greater benefit to humanity.

You aren't going to get a space ride unless you are insanely rich or an astronaut willing to devote decades to a career in hopes of getting a shot, so stop dreaming.

Re:We're trying to leave... (2, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196229)

Your argument is self contradictory.

If we're about corporate globalism then why would we pay any attention to these idiots?

The simple fact that the environmental movement is relevant in these matters renders your whole argument void.

Again... I don't want to argue with you or the environmentalists... You can have the earth. Keep it in good health.

Just let me leave. It might take another 10,000 years to get there... who knows. But we're leaving this mud ball and you're f'ing welcome to it. Do what you want so long as at the end of it all my descendants don't have to listen to your descents bleat on about more stupid shit.

Sorry if this is rude... I'm fed up.

Re:We're trying to leave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196257)

<sarcasm>Right, because there's no possible better place to launch rockets from in the US than Brownsville, Texas.</sarcasm>

Re:We're trying to leave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196313)

Oh I know... china.

Well, at least that way it won't be in the environment.

damn you taquaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195955)

I want space x in my back yard possums be dammed...che taquaches

Mojave? (3, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195957)

Why can't they just use the Mojave Spaceport [wikipedia.org] ? Okay, yes, it would be hard to find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, but at least they wouldn't have to worry about getting the idea past a bunch of environmentalists first.

Re:Mojave? (4, Insightful)

mycroft16 (848585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195987)

Mojave is only certified for horizontal launch of spacecraft, such as Scaled Composite's White Knight/SpaceShip1 combo. SpaceX is launching rockets. Doesn't really fly to launch those over land. People tend to complain. That's why they are all located on coasts. Kennedy, Wallops, Vandenberg... Brownsville is an ideal location. Now, Kennedy is also in the middle of a wildlife preserve, as is the Stennis Space Center where they do engine testing. Animals don't have the heck scared out of them at either location. Nor are their noxious chemicals spread all over.

Re:Mojave? (2, Informative)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196079)

Now, Kennedy is also in the middle of a wildlife preserve, as is the Stennis Space Center where they do engine testing. Animals don't have the heck scared out of them at either location. Nor are their noxious chemicals spread all over.

Actually, they do spread noxious chemicals all over. Such as those caused by the shuttle. [popsci.com] I'm not saying it is something that can't be controlled with a little regulation, and besides, Brownsville is kind of a shit hole anyways. Nevertheless, launching rockets into space DOES spew large amounts of toxic chemicals all over the place.

Re:Mojave? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196159)

Well SpaceX doesn't use solid rocket motors (which do produce some nasty chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, in their exhaust). Their Falcon rockets use liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene - if you burn these two together, the only stuff you get is H20 and C02.

Re:Mojave? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196345)

Right... No way you end up with some H2 or CO (and a bit of C, aka soot, because the real world sucks) in there? In fact, you get a fair bit; hydrocarbon/oxygen rockets, like most chemistries, are always run rich, to keep the chamber temperatures reasonable and because diatomic exhaust gases are better for propulsion.

Do yourself and us a favor, and read John D. Clark's Ignition! before you post anything about liquid-fueled rockets, OK?

Re:Mojave? (5, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196189)

if you actually read what you linked to you would realized that the main problem had nothing to do with the shuttle or even the rocket launches them selves but rather a 50's-60's-70's NASA that was operating without any environmental regulation. SpaceX uses LOX / RP-1 which has about the same by products as Jets. While yes it will put more soot into the air per flight than a jet, i have a sneaking feeling that it will be no where near the total amount over time that is put into the air of normal large airport.

Again the cleanup you linked to was for a chemical that isn't used much any more and is a problem because they where pouring it into the ground when they where done because at the time no one knew any better.

Re:Mojave? (2)

MurphyZero (717692) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196157)

There was a bird on a Shuttle when it launched at least once. That bird got the scare of its life. It also almost certainly died. Another pair of birds got hit by a shuttle and fell into the exhaust. So yes there are animals that got scared or died from the launches. That alone isn't reason enough to stop. Also Falcon has a minimal amount of toxic chemicals, at least compared to most launch vehicles. Brownsville isn't ideal, but it's not bad if their purpose is to avoid some of the bureaucracy--they won't get away from it completely, they'll still have to deal with the FAA, more in fact than they do now. Better than Mojave or anything inland by a great deal.

Efficiency, thats why. (4, Informative)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196039)

Science!

The mohave is hundreds of miles further away from the equator than Brownsville. The closer to the equator, the lower amount of fuel you need to reach certain orbits. The rotation of the earth adds to your relative speed, and this amount of speed provided increases the closer to the equator you get.

Why is it better to launch a spaceship from near the equator? [northwestern.edu]

Sweet dyslexia (3, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195959)

I read that as Space Pot. Once again slightly confused, then disappointed by the actual issue.

Popular argument, non-sequitur (1, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195963)

I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

I don't see how that follows from environmental concerns. Majority (or, in this case, nearly universal) support for something doesn't necessarily mean it's good in the long term.

Yeah, that's a good argument. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40195967)

Really, why do people think "Because...Jobs!!" is a good way to make an argument?

Do you think it trumps the other concerns?

Maybe the problem is deeper than just one employer, maybe there are values other than just employment.

I know, putting people to work is the Holy Grail of society, but didn't we learn not to choose poorly?

Re:Yeah, that's a good argument. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196063)

> Do you think it trumps the other concerns?

When the "other concerns" are scaring bambi and burning a little bit of kerosene... yes. It does trump those.

Re:Yeah, that's a good argument. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196221)

That's one way to put it.

Or we could put it as preserving desirable parts of the ecosystem for the benefit of all.

Or I could describe this "spaceport" as a wasteful boondoggle concocted just to syphon cash away from local governments just by promising jobs.

The problem is with the dogma, you won't actually be making persuasive arguments, just ones of intimidation.

Re:Yeah, that's a good argument. (2, Interesting)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196259)

It turns out it affects jobs too.

"According to a 2011 Texas A&M study, nature tourism generates about $300 million a year in the Rio Grande Valley, created 4,407 full- and part-time jobs and $2.6 million in sales taxes and $7.26 million in hotel taxes. The Rio Grande Valley has been named the number two destination in North America for birdwatching and attracts visitors from all over the world to view almost 500 species of bird."

http://www.environmenttexas.org/news/txe/spacex-attempting-launch-rockets-near-texas-wildlife-refuge [environmenttexas.org]

Sounds like Spring Break on South Padre Island (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195977)

'scare the heck' out of every creature in the area and would 'spray noxious chemicals all over the place.'

Yeah, that fairly describes anywhere hosting a spring break.

Oh, and Texas vermints and critters don't scare that easily. They won't give a hoot about no spaceman rockets.

not this crap again (2)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195979)

Launches dont happen every day for one thing, second of all the launches in FLA have been scaring the crap out of animals for 50 years now, I think fla still has animals.

environmentalists in texas is funny to me though, didnt think any of those existed.

Environmentalists can go play with themselves... (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196007)

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida doesn't seem to be an issue - pretty much everything Nasa has had in its arsenal has been launched from within it at some point or another, and we haven't seen any animals with nervous breakdowns...

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196029)

True but no need to put a launch complex in Texas just use the one in Florida. AKA We need the jobs since NASA got gutted.

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (1)

mycroft16 (848585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196065)

They are already using the old Titan pad at Kennedy. But that is a single pad and not nearly enough to support the ambitious plans SpaceX has for the future.

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196069)

SpaceX want to own this complex, so unless that is on the table for the NASA launch sites...

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196303)

Perhaps they could just lease the pad, like Google [wikipedia.org] has done.

If it's good enough for Sergy, it should be OK with Elon.

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196105)

My understanding is that they want to be able to land the first stage for reuse, and if they launch from eastern Texas, then Florida is just about the right distance to provide a convenient landing point. If they launch from Florida, they don't have that.

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196149)

This is exactly right.

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196177)

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida doesn't seem to be an issue - pretty much everything Nasa has had in its arsenal has been launched from within it at some point or another, and we haven't seen any animals with nervous breakdowns...

What's the condition of Merritt? Before and after NASA? Is it affected the same way as Brownsville would be?

Re:Environmentalists can go play with themselves.. (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196343)

What's the condition of Merritt? Before and after NASA? Is it affected the same way as Brownsville would be?

It is, was and will be a pestilential swamp. Mosquitoes, alligators and snakes don't much mind rocket launches. There are a bunch of birds there as well but they seem pretty happy. The launch facilities really just take up a small strip of land right on the coast. Given the requirement to have lots of space around each launcher it's easy to go off a main road and end up in the bush and think you're in the middle of nowhere.

There was a fair amount of hazmat stuff from the 50's and 60's lying around but that's mostly been cleaned up now.

A bigger issue would be frequency of launches. The Cape really isn't very active these days and hasn't been for a long time. If SpaceX was pushing hundreds of launches per year, that might affect wildlife. OTOH, armadillos are pretty damned stupid. Not much bothers them. Not even Texans.

Space ops are compatible with wildlife (4, Insightful)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196015)

as demonstrated by the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge (http://kennedyspacecenter.com/wildlife-refuge.aspx), which includes Kennedy Space Center. Gotta say, when I watched the SpaceX launch last week, I didn't notice any 'gators running away in panic. Five minutes after the launch, the frogs were ribbiting just as loudly as before liftoff. In TX I suppose it will be 'dillos, and I doubt they'll notice launch operations any more than KSC's wildlife has over the decades of launch operations there.

Re:Space ops are compatible with wildlife (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196197)

I said this elsewhere, but ...

What's the condition of Merritt? Before and after NASA started launching from there? Is it affected the same way as Brownsville would be?

It's interesting that people on Slashdot pushing science uber alles don't seem to use skeptical, critical thinking when it comes to projects they support.

Re:Space ops are compatible with wildlife (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196399)

Stop asking critical questions. The wannabe scientists are not interested in answering them.

Re:Space ops are compatible with wildlife (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196391)

And as you can't build anything near a space station, the area surrounding it will practically be a huge preservation, this project would actually protect the environment there.

Spaceport? (0)

HoleShot (1884318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196023)

Why not use one of the "space ports" we already got? Oh, I know why. Cause they probably won't be paying for the new one. The U.S. taxpayer would likely end up paying for it, as usual.

Re:Spaceport? (2)

mycroft16 (848585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196045)

They are currently using one that we already have. But SpaceX has ambitious plans for the future far beyond being a taxi and ferry for NASA. At Kennedy that have a single pad, the old Titan pad. Not nearly enough to support what they want to do. They also has also used the launch facilites on Omelek Island in Kwajalein Atoll, but again, not enough to support their future plans.

Have ya been to Brownsville? (4, Informative)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196037)

I have. For all intents and purposes, it is desert. You might scare some rattle snakes and a few cactus. It really is one of the few places I would say sure, dump the nuclear waste here.

Re:Have ya been to Brownsville? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196153)

I have. For all intents and purposes, it is desert. You might scare some rattle snakes and a few cactus.

..few cacti

Re:Have ya been to Brownsville? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196395)

Wow, it's nice to see what you all think about my home. I should go where you all live and tell you how shitty your city or town is.

Matamoros (1)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196061)

SpaceX should build it in Matamoros, Mexico instead.

Re:Matamoros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196387)

So they can get their heads chopped off?

Environmentalist's prerequisites? (-1, Flamebait)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196077)

Just what are the prerequisites for being an environmentalist? Being a complete moron? Being an asshat? Or is it that they're just born that way?

Re:Environmentalist's prerequisites? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196225)

I've been saying this for years, but every time I do. I get modded down on /. for it. Seems like people are slowly realizing that environmentalists are nothing but short of a full load, and right up there with wanting humanity to deindustrialize.

How can I tell the editors didn't RTFA? (2)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196089)

I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

From the press release:

Environment Texas also pointed out the risk the project poses to the south Texas economy. According to a 2011 Texas A&M study, nature tourism generates about $300 million a year in the Rio Grande Valley, created 4,407 full- and part-time jobs and $2.6 million in sales taxes and $7.26 million in hotel taxes. The Rio Grande Valley has been named the number two destination in North America for birdwatching and attracts visitors from all over the world to view almost 500 species of bird.

If you wanted to argue about this you could try and find some evidence that a spaceport isn't actually environmentally hazardous, but I'm getting pretty sick of hearing unsupported nonsense about jobs.

Re:How can I tell the editors didn't RTFA? (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196137)

Do you think a couple launches a year will hurt tourism? If anything, it will bring more tourism.

Re:How can I tell the editors didn't RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196241)

Do you think a couple launches a year will hurt tourism? If anything, it will bring more tourism.

I think SpaceX is planning to launch a little more often than that... make that a lot more often than that.

Re:How can I tell the editors didn't RTFA? (2)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196243)

Then again they aren't building a nuclear weapons testing ground either so this won't be wiping all that out.

Re:How can I tell the editors didn't RTFA? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196249)

Well for one, I dont give a damn about no birdwatching, But I sure as hell would go and watch a spaceX launch. I would wager there is still a decent amount of fans of rocket launches that will match or beat the bird watchers, and we still have no real proof that rockets "make the birds go away" last I checked, there are still birds in FLA.

Does SpaceX get the resources for free? (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196111)

The citizens of Brownsville have these public resources, including the wildlife and pristine lands. Does SpaceX just get to consume them for free? Shouldn't they pay for what they use, instead of being given it by the local government as corporate welfare?

Re:Does SpaceX get the resources for free? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196255)

wrong argument, They dont want it to be there period, regardless of who pays for it.

spray noxious chemicals all over the place? (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196127)

What noxious chemicals are they talking about? Somehow I suspect they lack the technical expertise accurately assess the environmental impact if they will make a ridiculous claim like that. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the technologies used in SpaceX rockets.

Re:spray noxious chemicals all over the place? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196193)

Texas isn't exactly known for being interested in science or knowledge so that shouldn't surprise anybody.

Re:spray noxious chemicals all over the place? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196407)

And those technologies would be... ? And they release what exactly ? Bunch of arguments, no content.

Timothy from Brownsville (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196147)

I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

I suspect Timothy has never been to Brownsville and is assuming everyone thinks like he does and doesn't weigh long-term costs and benefits.

And what will the people there think if their public lands are destroyed and 10 years from now SpaceX is out of business or simply thinks this spaceport is no longer viable? Maybe they get a better offer from another locale which makes the same mistake?

Re:Timothy from Brownsville (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196277)

Or maybe the magic rocket fairy will come down and sprinkle some stardust on everyone and there will be an influx of economic growth in the area and the lands will be fine due to the fact that the fuel is not the same as what NASA was using in the 60s. OR maybe spaceX comes up with some new battery tech that will launch a projectile into space, while powering a car for 400 years.

we are just playing the what if game rather than anything based on fact right?

I thought bigoted profiling was bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196181)

I appreciate the attention brought to this issue, but why is it that every reference to Texas uses the worst quotes to make us sound like a bunch of ignorant hicks? That's about as legit as assuming everyone who reads Slashdot is a pimpled, overweight, greasy virgin. There's probably plenty of examples of both stereotypes, but they're both offensive and really have no place for those who purport to be educated.

Google Maps link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196185)

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Boca+Chica+Boulevard,+Brownsville,+TX,+United+States&hl=en&ll=25.995698,-97.153559&spn=0.054697,0.104628&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=48.956293,107.138672&oq=boca+chica&hnear=Boca+Chica+Blvd,+Brownsville,+Texas&t=h&z=14

Compare with the image in a page linked in TFA:

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/06/environment-texas-attempts-to-stop-spacex-spaceport/

Tesla Roadster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196187)

This is what happens when you pissed off a bunch of tree huggers who paid $120,000 for a lemon that gets 50 miles range with a tailwind.

Kennedy Space Center Proves (4, Informative)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196213)

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to Kennedy Space Center and in fact, part of the refuge is also controlled by KSC. They have not experienced gloom nor doom there, and in fact, quite the contrary: Brevard County is one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States.

That's after launching 135 Space Shuttles, multiple Saturn rockets, as well as other programs that litter American history. And next to KSC is the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's launch area, a place that has seen too many rocket launches to mention.

One has to wonder what makes the Brownsville area so much more at risk.

Here are the environmental threats (4, Informative)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196247)

Timothy's post linked to a partisan blogger. Here are the threats, per Environment Texas:

--- "According to a 2011 Texas A&M study, nature tourism generates about $300 million a year in the Rio Grande Valley, created 4,407 full- and part-time jobs and $2.6 million in sales taxes and $7.26 million in hotel taxes."

--- "The Rio Grande Valley has been named the number two destination in North America for birdwatching and attracts visitors from all over the world to view almost 500 species of bird."

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has many objections:

--- "noise, heat, vibration, fencing and hazardous material spills" from the project could harm endangered and threatened species and diminish the value of Boca Chica State Park (near Brownsville) and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge

--- TPWD previously declined SpaceX's request about "leasing parkland for the project"

--- "potential for significant contamination of very senstive resources in the event of a catastrophic event (i.e., hurricane)"

--- the area is "extremely susceptible to wildfires" which could result from launch failures and accidental fires

--- concern "with the loss of the function and value of all wetlands"

--- "recreational use of the TPWD lands as currently planned would need to be revised"

--- "the proposed project area is within the Central Flyway, a route through which over 500 species of birds migrate annually

All from:
http://www.environmenttexas.org/news/txe/spacex-attempting-launch-rockets-near-texas-wildlife-refuge [environmenttexas.org]

Mark Whittington? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196281)

It's kind of difficult to take Mark Whittington seriously after reading this [yahoo.com] .

Wait till they find out (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40196305)

Wait till they find out there is only a Departure gate.

Close to the border (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196307)

Brownsville certainly isn't Laredo or El Paso, but it's no stranger to the cartels. A Brownsville space port might also arguably be a more available terror target than other sites that could feasibly serve as commercial launch sites.

oh, the contrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196375)

i've been to their texas test site many times. the adjacent land is home to numerous red tail hawk, buzzards, coyotes and the occasional fox.. The site itself is full of jack rabbits, and birds of all kinds. the tests that they do there make about a hundred times more noise than any launch site would. i don't see any evidence for their claims. in fact, launch sites are probably good for protected lands as they make further development in the immediate area very unattractive.

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