From: Space Florida
Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
A Federal Aviation Administration-led environmental study to address the potential impacts of constructing and operating a commercial launch complex in the general vicinity of the former citrus community known as Shiloh, Fla., will be performed by an independent consultant in accordance with FAA conditions and procedures, the State's aerospace development organization announced today.
Space Florida has posted on its website (at http://www.spaceflorida.gov/proposals) a solicitation ("RFQ-SF-17-0-2014/MB") for the submission of competitive written qualifications packages from professional environmental consulting firms to provide services in support of the FAA in preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The EIS is the next step in the initiative to establish a commercial spaceport complex jurisdictionally independent from the existing government launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the U.S. Air Force Eastern Range. The EIS will be used to support Space Florida's application to the FAA for a Launch Site Operator License for the operation of vertical launch facilities and associated space vehicle processing, launch, and recovery infrastructure.
As the leading federal agency for the EIS, the FAA will select an independent consultant from those responding to the solicitation, based on procedures published in the Request for Qualifications. Space Florida will be responsible for engaging and retaining the FAA-selected consultant with funds provided by Space Florida under a Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the FAA and Space Florida. The independent consultant will perform the EIS under the direction of the FAA following federal environmental statutes, regulations, and guidelines as well as all applicable local, state, and federal laws as appropriate.
"We are looking forward to a thorough and transparent analysis of all of the potential environmental impacts of this proposed launch complex," said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. "We encourage all stakeholders to participate in the process. Space Florida has full confidence in the conditions and procedures that the FAA has prescribed for the development and preparation of the EIS, and in the judgment of the FAA and its cooperating agencies in this effort."
Public participation in the EIS scoping will begin with the FAA's publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register, and will include public meetings in both Brevard and Volusia counties on the commercial spaceport project proposed by Space Florida. Those activities are expected to occur in fall 2013, after the selection of a consultant to support the FAA's EIS.
Space Florida is proposing the construction and operation of the Shiloh Launch Complex on approximately 150 usable acres of undeveloped land, plus an additional 50 acres of buffer area. The proposed property is presently under the control of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) within the boundaries of the Kennedy Space Center. The land is currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge under a land management agreement. The EIS will also analyze reasonable alternative locations to the proposed site.
Similar FAA EIS processes are underway in Texas and Georgia, which have sites that are also proposed to be developed and operated as commercial spaceports meeting the needs of launch providers seeking to improve the U.S. share of a growing, non-federal market for launch services.
"Florida is working diligently to face expanding commercial space market opportunities, as other states are, and this proposed launch complex will complement Florida's existing world-class capabilities," DiBello added.
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