[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 8, 2011)]
[Pages 12787-12788]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-5242]



Federal Aviation Administration

Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Notice of Availability 
of the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant 
Impact for Pegasus Launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, 

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 (as amended), Council on Environmental 
Quality NEPA implementing regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations 
[CFR] parts 1500 to 1508), and FAA Order 1050.1E, Change 1, the FAA is 
announcing the availability of the Final Environmental Assessment 
(Final EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Pegasus 
Launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Final EA was prepared 
to address the potential environmental impacts of the FAA's Proposed 
Action for issuing or renewing Launch Operator Licenses to operate 
Pegasus launch vehicles at CCAFS. Activities addressed in the Final EA 
include carrier aircraft takeoff and landing from a CCAFS runway and 
launch of Pegasus vehicle at an altitude of 40,000 feet and 
approximately 90 nautical miles offshore over the Atlantic Ocean. The 
Final EA tiers from the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement (PEIS) for Licensing Launches (2001 PEIS) and focuses on 
localized and site-specific effects of FAA issuing or renewing Launch 
Operator Licenses to operate Pegasus expendable launch vehicles at 
CCAFS. The 2001 PEIS, evaluated the launch impacts associated with four 
vehicle categories (small, medium, intermediate, and heavy-payload 
capacities); three propellant types (solid, liquid, and hybrid 
propellant); and three launch scenarios (land, air, and sea). The 
Pegasus launch vehicle falls within the parameters of the small-payload 
capacity vehicle using solid propellant to launch from

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the air. The 2001 PEIS evaluated the impacts of launching 72 small 
capacity rockets, including the Pegasus launch vehicle family, over a 
10-year period. The estimated annual number of launches ranged from 
four to nine launches, with an average of seven annual launches. The 
rate of Pegasus launches at CCAFS under the FAA's Proposed Action would 
not be expected to exceed the rate of launches analyzed in the 2001 
PEIS. The only alternative to the Proposed Action is the No Action 
Alternative. Under this Alternative, the FAA would not issue or renew 
Launch Operator Licenses to operate Pegasus launch vehicles at CCAFS.
    Resource areas were considered to provide a context for 
understanding and assessing the potential environmental effects of the 
Proposed Action, with attention focused on key issues. The resources 
areas considered in the Final EA included air quality; biological 
resources (including fish, wildlife, and plants); compatible land use; 
Department of Transportation Section 4(f) resources; hazardous 
materials, pollution prevention, and solid waste; historical, 
architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources; noise; 
socioeconomic impacts; and water quality (including floodplains and 
wetlands). Potential cumulative impacts of the Proposed Action were 
also addressed in the Final EA.
    After careful and thorough consideration of available data and 
information on existing conditions and potential impacts, the FAA has 
determined that there will be no significant short-term, long-term, or 
cumulative impacts to the environment or surrounding populations from 
the issuance or renewal of Launch Operator Licenses to operate Pegasus 
launch vehicles at CCAFS. The proposed Federal action is consistent 
with existing national environmental policies and objectives as set 
forth in Section 101 of NEPA and other applicable environmental 
requirements and will not significantly affect the quality of the human 
environment within the meaning of NEPA. Therefore, an Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Proposed Action is not required and the FAA 
issued a FONSI.
    The FAA has posted the Final EA and FONSI on the FAA Office of 
Commercial Space Transportation Web site at http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/environmental/review/launch/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Daniel Czelusniak, Environmental 
Program Lead, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Federal 
Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 325, 
Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267-5924; E-mail 

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 1, 2011.
Michael McElligott,
Manager, Space Systems Development Division.
[FR Doc. 2011-5242 Filed 3-7-11; 8:45 am]