SpaceX 'flame deflector' system for Starship launches may breach environmental regulations, report says

  • SpaceX failed to apply for an environmental permit for its "flame deflector" system, CNBC reported.

  • The technology was meant to reduce the "heat and force" of its Starship rocket launches.

  • But the runoff could put pollutants into ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, per CNBC.

SpaceX failed to apply for the permits needed to use its "flame deflector" system used in rocket launches, potentially breaking environmental law, CNBC reported.

The company tweeted Friday that it ran a full pressure test of the water deluge system aimed at combatting the "immense heat and force" of a Starship launch, per CEO Elon Musk.

However, according to a CNBC report, SpaceX failed to apply for the environmental permits needed to use the technology.

The water used for the flame detector may contain pollutants that could enter ecosystems around SpaceX's Starship Super Heavy launch site, including those in the Gulf of Mexico.

A representative for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told CNBC that as of Thursday SpaceX hadn't obtained the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit needed to permit such runoff at the launch site.

"No determination" about whether SpaceX had broken environmental law had been made, the representative added.

SpaceX could be fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for any violations.

The company didn't provide a comment to CNBC or immediately respond to a request from Insider, made outside normal working hours. The Texas commission didn't immediately respond to Insider either.

Last week, physicist Jeff Baumgardner told Spaceweather that a SpaceX launch earlier in July briefly punched a hole in the Earth's ionosphere.

Read the original article on Business Insider