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Feds To Examine SpaceX Over Possible Impact On Future LNG Terminals

Federal authorities in the United States will look into the possible effects of a failed rocket launch by SpaceX on the planned construction of liquid natural gas export terminals located in Texas.

On 1 September, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded prior to a routine pre-flight ignition test at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The incident occurred on the eastern coast of the peninsula, but SpaceX is sending rockets into orbit from the same area along the Texas coast that LNG shippers are hoping to use to export shale gas overseas.

As a result, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has requested shippers to hire experts that could determine if there’s any effect between the launch explosion and their plans for LNG.

According to correspondence sent to developers on 27 October, the FERC noted that there are “possible siting concerns posed from potential failed rocket launches.” As a result, “we have determined that more information" is necessary, the FERC said.

LNG developers Texas LNG Brownsville, Annova LNG and Rio Grande LNG didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment on the matter. Yet in an e-mailed statement, SpaceX said it values the coordination between the Federal Aviation Administration and the FERC “to protect public safety and resolve any issues related to the proximity” of the launch complex to other facilities.

As the probe continues to look into the cause of the failed launch last September, SpaceX reportedly plans to start test-firing rockets later in November, and also wants to return to active launches prior to the end of this year.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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  • Rebel44 on November 02 2016 said:
    What a nonsense - during rocket launches, areas under their flight path are restricted zones (both planes and ships are prohobited to be there at that time). This has been in practice for decades, for safety reasons, because quite a few past rocket launches ended with failures (usually big explosion).
  • Bill Simpson on November 02 2016 said:
    Obviously, SpaceX should get the priority land access, since space resources will be being used long after natural gas is a distant memory. Space is infinite. Our little planet, with its tiny supply of hydrocarbons, isn't even a drop in the ocean, compared to infinity.
    To me, it sounds like someone is looking for a bribe. Especially since rockets can be destroyed the second anything goes wrong with them. The debris will fall harmlessly into the Gulf, perhaps killing a few fish.

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