Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1779

)

October 8, 1996

Dom Amatore Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 205/544-0031) RELEASE: 96-202 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT PROCESS BEGINS FOR TEST FLIGHTS OF X-33 TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATOR, PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED NASA Monday published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the development and testing of the X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator. As part of the process, NASA plans to hold public meetings to gather comments for the EIS on proposed flight operations, takeoff and landing sites. The 273,000 pound, wedge-shaped X-33 is a prototype launch vehicle being developed under a cooperative agreement with NASA by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA. The vehicle is part of NASA's Reusable Launch Vehicle program. As many as 15 flight tests of the X-33 are planned to originate from Edwards Air Force Base, CA, and land at sites in Southern California, Utah, and Montana or Washington beginning in early 1999. The proposed short-range landing sites under study are Silurian Lake, CA, and China Lake Naval Weapons Center, CA. The midrange landing site under study is Michael Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground, UT. The long-range landing sites under study are Moses Lake, WA, and Malmstrom Air Force Base, MT. Affected agencies and the public are encouraged to offer input to help identify and define any issues to be addressed in NASA's EIS analyses. The results of the analyses will be used in the decision-making process regarding the flight test program. The EIS is being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the

Procedural Provisions of NEPA, and NASA policy and regulations. The formal public comment period ends November 29, 1996, however, NASA will accept comments relevant to the analysis throughout the EIS Process, which is expected to conclude in September 1997. Written comments for inclusion in the final EIS may be mailed to: Dr. Rebecca C. McCaleb, Director Environmental Engineering and Management Office Code AE01 Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812. Comments may be forwarded for the EIS by faxing to 205/544-8259, or Emailing to: x33eis@msfc.nasa.gov Comments also may be provided by calling 1-800-833-0678 and leaving a message on the recording machine. NASA environmental officials will make their best effort to transcribe verbal comments -- however, they cannot guarantee the same accuracy as comments received in writing. The text of the NOI (Notice 96-118) can be accessed along with general information about the X-33 program at: http://rlv.msfc.nasa.gov The environmental documents also will be available for review at regional repositories listed in the NOI. A schedule of the public meetings follows on the next page. X-33 Public Meeting Schedule Helena, MT 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 1996 Social Rehabilitative Services Auditorium Sanders Avenue (406) 444-3912 Great Falls, MT 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1996

Great Falls High School 1900 Second Ave. S. (406) 791-2167 Moses Lake, WA 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, 1996 Washington State National Guard Armory 6500 32nd Ave. N.E. (509) 766-2551 Dugway, UT 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, 1996 Post Theater Dugway Proving Ground (801) 831-3708 Tooele, UT 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1996 Tooele Senior Center 59 E. Vine St. (801) 882-2870 Salt Lake City, UT 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1996 Airport Quality Inn 5575 W. Amelia Earhart Drive (801) 537-7020 Lancaster, CA 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1996 Best Western Antelope Valley Inn 44055 N. Sierra Highway (805) 918-4651 Ridgecrest, CA 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1996 Carriage Inn 901 N. China Lake Blvd. (619) 446-7910 Boron, CA 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, 1996 West Boron Elementary School 12300 Del Oro (619) 762-5430

Barstow, CA 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, 1996 Holiday Inn 1511 E. Main St. (619) 256-5673 - end -