February 23, 2024

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A SpaceX Starship explosion started a fire and sent debris flying, feds say

SpaceX spacecraft launch It is considered the most powerful missile in the world It exploded over Texas last week and sparked many conversations among space enthusiasts, but it also ignited a 3.5-acre fire in a public park.

On Wednesday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service provided details about the aftermath of the launch.

In addition to the fire, large chunks of concrete and sheets of stainless steel were among the items found thousands of feet away, wildlife officials said in a statement. Officials also found that a column of pulverized concrete was deposited 6.5 miles northwest of the launch pad.

SpaceX launched the spacecraft from Boca Chica, Texas, Thursday morning from a pad adjacent to the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. About four minutes later, the drone exploded over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Washington Post previously reported that due to the rocket’s massive size, the take-off alone was considered a success by many experts. They cautioned that explosions are often part of the trial-and-error process for ambitious missiles. However, it was the launch process prior to the explosion that was vetted by federal officials.

Officials found no debris on refugee-owned land, but employees documented about 385 acres of debris at the SpaceX facility and at Boca Chica State Park, which is leased by the Fish and Wildlife Service and is managed as part of the refuge land. The 3.5-acre fire also burned in Boca Chica State Parks.

“At this time, no dead birds or wild animals have been found on land owned or operated by refugees,” the Federal Wildlife Service said.

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It was a National Wildlife Refuge in the lower Rio Grande Valley Established In 1979 and extends 40 thousand acres. The refuge is home to 1,200 species of plants along with 700 species of vertebrates, including nearly 500 species of birds, and 300 species of butterflies, according to Federal Parks. Description of the shelter.

“You’ll find 11 different biological communities, from the thorny Chihuahuan jungle to the tidal lands,” reads a primer for visitors to the resort. A rare ocelot fuses with the fuzzy brush. A pair of crested caracaras glides over the river. A Mexican blue butterfly flutters in the view, while the mighty kiskadees insistently shout “kis-ka-dee, kis-ka-dee.”

Prior to Starship’s launch, Cameron County officials announced the closure of Texas Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach. It was supposed to reopen on Friday, but the closure lasted until Saturday, which federal wildlife authorities said prevented their staff from accessing refugee-owned and managed lands.

The agency announced that it was in contact with SpaceX to “provide guidance on the ground to further minimize impacts and minimize long-term damage to natural resources.” They are also coordinating with the FAA on their assessment of the site and seeing if they have any recommendations on how to comply with the Endangered Species Act.

Anomita Core contributed to this report.