It has been a longstanding concern that SpaceX’s rocket base is situated close to endangered species habitats, including a nesting beach for loggerhead sea turtles. Following the April launch, several environmental groups sued the FAA, stating that the agency had not conducted a sufficient environmental review.
Although no dead endangered animals were found during the investigation, wildlife biologists noted that their ability to examine the impact was significantly impeded by SpaceX. Officials were denied access to the site for 48 hours after the launch, allowing potential animal remains to be removed, washed away, or consumed by other animals.
One of the main contributors to the damage was SpaceX’s decision not to use flame-suppression technology, such as a flame diverter or flame trench. These technologies are commonly utilized in the industry to redirect energy away from the rocket. Consequently, Starship blew a hole in the ground beneath it, resulting in the destruction of the launchpad.
The FAA is currently reviewing the investigation and has temporarily halted further launch attempts. It is anticipated that SpaceX will need to redesign the launchpad before any future launches can occur.