June 26, 1997
X-33 Public Meeting Schedule
Marshall Space Flight Center,
NASA TO RELEASE X-33 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT; PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED FOR JULY
NASA Friday will issue its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the development and flight testing of the X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator. NASA also has announced plans to hold public meetings in 11 communities in five states to present the study's findings and seek public comment.
The environmental study examines the potential impacts of X-33 development and flight testing. Major issues addressed in the environmental study -- which began Oct. 7, 1996 -- include noise and sonic booms, flight safety, and effects on airspace and air traffic patterns. Many of the issues addressed originated from comments NASA gathered during public scoping meetings held in the same communities during the fall and early winter.
The 273,000 pound, wedge-shaped X-33 is being developed under a cooperative agreement with NASA by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, Calif. As many as 15 flight tests of the X-33 are planned to originate from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and land at sites in Southern California, Utah, and Montana or Washington in 1999.
The proposed short-range landing sites addressed in the environmental study are Silurian Lake, Calif., and China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Calif. The midrange landing site is Michael Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The long-range landing sites are Moses Lake, Wash., and Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.
The objective of the technology development and demonstration effort is to support government and private sector decisions by the end of the decade on development of an operational next-generation space launch vehicle. A full-scale, single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle will dramatically increase reliability and lower the cost of putting a pound of payload into space from $10,000 to $1,000. By reducing the cost associated with transporting payloads into low Earth orbit, a commercial reusable launch vehicle would create new opportunities for space access and significantly improve U.S. economic competitiveness in the worldwide launch marketplace. NASA will be a customer, not the operator, of an industry-developed reusable launch vehicle.
Copies of the 600-page Environmental Impact Statement and its 40-page Executive Summary are being made available to the public in a number of repositories -- primarily public libraries -- in the local communities involved in the X-33 program. The documents also are being mailed to affected outside agencies -- such as state government and environmental offices, the Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Land Management.
The full text of the Environmental Impact Statement will appear on the Marshall Space Flight Center environmental office Web site at http://eemo.msfc.nasa.gov/eemo/X33_eis. The Notice of Availability publicizing the document's release and the repositories where a copy can be viewed is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register July 3, 1997.
Requests for copies of the Executive Summary and/or the full Environmental Impact Statement can be made to:
Dr. Rebecca C. McCaleb, Director
Environmental Engineering and Management Office -- Code AE01
Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812
Affected agencies and the public are encouraged to review and comment on the findings within the environmental study. Comments can be offered at the public meetings listed below. Written comments for inclusion in the Final Environmental Impact Statement also may be forwarded by mail to the address listed above, by fax to (205) 544-8259, or by e-mail to "email@example.com." Comments also may be forwarded by calling toll-free at 1-800-833-0678 and leaving the comments on an answering machine. NASA officials will do their best to transcribe verbal comments; however, they cannot guarantee the same accuracy as with written comments.
Public comment will be accepted through Aug. 17, 1997. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled to be completed in September, with the Record of Decision scheduled for October.
The document is being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA, and NASA policy and regulations.
Moses Lake, Wash.
7 p.m. Monday July 7, 1997
Washington State National Guard Armory
6500 32nd Ave. N.E.
Great Falls, Mont.
6 p.m. Tuesday July 8, 1997
Great Falls High School
1900 Second Ave. S.
7 p.m. Wednesday July 9, 1997
Social Rehabilitative Services Auditorium
111 Sanders Ave.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
7 p.m. Thursday July 10, 1997
University of Idaho/Idaho State University
1776 Science Center Drive
7 p.m. Monday July 14, 1997
Old Post Headquarters (Bldg. 5450)
Dugway Proving Ground
Salt Lake City
6 p.m. Tuesday July 15, 1997
Salt Lake City Public Library
209 East 500 South
7 p.m. Wednesday July 16, 1997
Tooele Senior Center
59 E. Vine St.
7 p.m. Monday July 21, 1997
Lancaster High School
44701 32nd St. W.
7 p.m. Tuesday July 22, 1997
Boron High School
26831 Prospect St.
7 p.m. Wednesday July 23, 1997
Burroughs High School
500 E. French St.
7 p.m. Thursday July 24, 1997
Baker Senior Citizen Center
73730 Baker Blvd.
Note to Editors: For more information on the X-33 program, visit the program's Web site at http://rlv.msfc.nasa.gov, or contact: Dr. Dominic Amatore, Public Affairs Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812. Phone: (205) 544-0031.