launching at sea

Joe Dellinger (
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 17:05:01 -0500

	I know there had been proposals to build a "space port" on the
Big Island of Hawaii (latitude +19). Slight difficulty is that the entire
island is quite geologically unstable and subject to big earthquakes and
tsunamis. I think those plans were dropped.

	If they are launching from near US-owned land very near the equator,
then the possibilities are Howland, Baker, and Jarvis islands. Those are all
basically right on the equator, even closer than the ESA launch site is.
However, I believe all of those are at least partially run as bird nesting
preserves. How are they going to assure that the noise doesn't "hurt the
birds"? (I suspect the birds would rapidly learn to ignore the noise,
actually.) Are they going to "de-sanctuary" the nearby island? Johnston island
is a bit farther South than Hawaii and is already partly military (they do
seriously NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) things like destroying nerve agents
there) and partly bird preserve. Actually, I haven't heard of there ever being
a chemical accident that killed any birds there yet...