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SpaceX Seeks Second Splashdown Zone In Gulf

Proposed SpaceX splashdown zone. Photo: FAA

SpaceX wants to land its Dragon space capsule in the Gulf of Mexico.

After missions to the International Space Station, SpaceX drops its capsule into the Pacific Ocean where a recovery team picks it up and brings it back to land.

The capsules contain completed experiments from the station, and eventually will carry astronauts. Poor weather in the drop zone could delay re-entry, so SpaceX wants another option.

The Federal Aviation Administration drafted an environmental impact study for a second landing area in the Gulf of Mexico. The study looked at possible impacts to air and water quality, as well as the potential harm to sea life and oil rigs.

The FAA’s draft says it will grant SpaceX up to six landings in the gulf per year. The drop zones are off the west coast of Florida, as well as Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

SpaceX ships supplies for NASA to the International Space Station. Soon, the private company will launch astronauts from Florida’s space coast. They’ll return in the dragon capsule at sea…just like the cargo.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »