National Environmental Policy Act; Crew Exploration Vehicle
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and NASA policy and procedures (14 CFR part 1216 subpart 1216.3), NASA has prepared and issued a Draft EA for the Development of the CEV. The Proposed Action is to develop a new human- rated space vehicle, the CEV, which would be the U.S. vehicle to transport humans to Low-Earth Orbit and to the International Space Station, Moon, Mars, and to destinations beyond. The Draft EA addresses the potential environmental impacts associated with the development of the CEV, including its design, component fabrication, and assembly. However, it does not cover flight testing and operation of the CEV, which will be the subject of future NEPA documentation. The only alternative to the Proposed Action discussed in detail is the No Action Alternative where NASA would not develop the CEV. The CEV would be able to transport up to six humans and cargo to space after the Space Shuttle is retired, which is currently scheduled to occur no later than 2010. First human flight involving the CEV is planned for no later than 2014 with initial access to Low-Earth Orbit and to the International Space Station. Human missions to the Moon are planned for no later than 2020 with missions to Mars and other destinations in the following decades. The CEV would likely be launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.