BACKGROUND: X-33 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT On Friday, June 27, NASA will issue its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the

development and flight testing of the X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator. NASA also has announced plans to hold public meetings in 11 communities in five states to present the study¹s findings and seek public comment. The environmental study examines the potential impacts of X-33 development and flight testing. Major issues addressed in the environmental study -- which began Oct. 7, 1996 -- include noise and sonic booms, flight safety, and effects on airspace and air traffic patterns. Many of the issues addressed originated from comments NASA gathered during public scoping meetings held in the same communities during the fall and early winter. The 273,000 pound, wedge-shaped X-33 is being developed under a cooperative agreement with NASA by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA. 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 1999. The proposed short-range landing sites addressed in the environmental study are Silurian Lake and China Lake Naval Weapons Center, CA. The midrange landing site is Michael Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground, UT. The long-range landing sites are Moses Lake, WA., and Malmstrom Air Force Base, MT. The objective of the technology development and demonstration effort is to support government and private sector decisions by the end of the decade on development of an operational nextgeneration space launch vehicle. A full-scale, single-stage-toorbit reusable launch vehicle will dramatically increase reliability and lower the cost of putting a pound of payload into space from $10,000 to $1,000. By reducing the cost associated with transporting payloads into low Earth orbit, a commercial reusable launch vehicle would create new opportunities for space access and significantly improve U.S. economic competitiveness in the worldwide launch marketplace. NASA will be a customer, not the operator, of an industry-developed reusable launch vehicle. Copies of the 600-page Environmental Impact Statement and its 40-page Executive Summary are being made available to the public in a number of repositories -- primarily public libraries -- in

the local communities involved in the X-33 program. The documents also are being mailed to affected outside agencies -- such as state government and environmental offices, the Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Land Management. The full text of the Environmental Impact Statement will appear on the Marshall Space Flight Center environmental office Web site at The Notice of Availability publicizing the document¹s release and the repositories where a copy can be viewed is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register July 3, 1997. Requests for copies of the Executive Summary and/or the full Environmental Impact Statement can be made to: Dr. Rebecca C. McCaleb, Director Environmental Engineering and Management Office -- Code AE01 Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812 Affected agencies and the public are encouraged to review and comment on the findings within the environmental study. Comments can be offered at the public meetings listed below. Written comments for inclusion in the Final Environmental Impact Statement also may be forwarded by mail to the address listed above, by fax to (205) 544-8259, or by e-mail to ³² Comments also may be forwarded by calling toll-free at 1-800-8330678 and leaving the comments on an answering machine. NASA officials will do their best to transcribe verbal comments; however, they cannot guarantee the same accuracy as with written comments. Public comment will be accepted through Aug. 17, 1997. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled to be completed in September, with the Record of Decision scheduled for October. The document 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. Additional information on the X-33 program is also available on the program¹s Web site at

X-33 Public Meeting Schedule Moses Lake, WA 7 p.m. Monday July 7, 1997 Washington State National Guard Armory 6500 32nd Ave. N.E. Great Falls, MT 6 p.m. Tuesday July 8, 1997 Great Falls High School 1900 Second Ave. S. Helena, MT 7 p.m. Wednesday July 9, 1997 Social Rehabilitative Services Auditorium 111 Sanders Ave. Idaho Falls, ID 7 p.m. Thursday July 10, 1997 University of Idaho/Idaho State University 1776 Science Center Drive Dugway, UT 7 p.m. Monday July 14, 1997 Old Post Headquarters (Bldg. 5450) Dugway Proving Ground Salt Lake City, UT 6 p.m. Tuesday July 15, 1997 Salt Lake City Public Library 209 East 500 South

Tooele, UT 7 p.m. Wednesday July 16, 1997 Tooele Senior Center 59 E. Vine St. Lancaster, CA 7 p.m. Monday July 21, 1997

Lancaster High School 44701 32nd St. W. Boron, CA 7 p.m. Tuesday July 22, 1997 Boron High School 26831 Prospect St. Ridgecrest, CA 7 p.m. Wednesday July 23, 1997 Burroughs High School 500 E. French St. Baker, CA 7 p.m. Thursday July 24, 1997 Baker Senior Citizen Center 73730 Baker Blvd.