Thursday, January 31, 2008

NASA Issues Environmental Impact Statement for Constellation

NASA’s Constellation Program is developing a space transportation system that is designed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement concludes that localized and global environmental impacts associated with implementing the program would be comparable to past or ongoing NASA activities. The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement for major federal actions that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Federal agencies consider potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions before deciding whether and how to proceed. The statement examines the effects of development, testing and operation of spacecraft and support systems associated with Constellation Program activities through the early 2020s. NASA plans to use multiple government and contractor facilities in implementing the program. The program components to be developed include the Orion crew exploration vehicle, the Ares I crew launch vehicle, the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, the Altair lunar lander and other cargo systems. Orion will launch atop the Ares I and be capable of docking with the International Space Station or with cargo launched to low Earth orbit by the Ares V for transit to the moon, or future missions to Mars.

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