Even though we are moving towards the use of renewable energy, our technology isn’t advanced enough to power rockets. This is why one of the most important aspects of space explorations is fossil fuels. And this actually has a very adverse impact on the climatic conditions. Hence, Elon faced a lot of criticism for his plan to use Texas Natural gas for SpaceX starships. Elon said that he aims to use carbon capture technology in the future and has announced a $100 million reward for anyone who does.
The Texas natural gas powerplant has five wells. Once the gas is extracted from these wells, it will be converted to liquid methane. After that, liquid oxygen will be mixed with liquid methane to obtain rocket fuel. SpaceX’s lawyers have also confirmed that the natural gas from the well would be used for SpaceX starships. Even though the company is facing a lot of criticism, its in talks with the FAA for setting up a treatment plant. This plant will be used to convert methane into liquid.
The main reason behind the extraction and the use of its own natural gas is control. Elon has been keeping a stronghold over the company’s supply chains. This has helped them save a lot of money, maintain quality and the timeline of their launches. To make this happen, the company has its own subsidiary the Lone Star, that controls an 806-acre land’s mineral rights.
Problems faced by SpaceX
Apart from the fact that the land owned by SpaceX isn’t very easy to drill and extract gas from, there are any other problems it’s facing. The company is in a legal battle with the Dallas petroleum group that claims to have ownership of the wells in the land. At the same time, the backlash faced by the company in the name of the environment is also huge.
The frequent launches and explosions of SpaceX have already violated a lot of the FAA. Simultaneously, the fires resulted in endangering the areas nearby and the natural habitat. It has also increased the time the highway has been closed affecting commuters nearby. The FAA has originally permitted SpaceX 12 launces a year with 180 hours of highway closures, but in 2020 the company went well above that.
Endangering the life of population nearby and the natural habitat of the area can create a very bad image of the company. At the same time, it’s also getting increasingly difficult for them to do timely launches due to the FAA.
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