Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Disaster Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Dean Kyne

Second Advisor

Dr. William Donner

Third Advisor

Dr. Arlett Lomeli


The commercialization of space has increased spaceport development and activity across the United States. The magnitude of growth can be witnessed through the spaceport expansion and spacecraft testing at the SpaceX “Starbase” Launch Facility, located along the Texas-Mexico border. Matching the pace of SpaceX’s growth while evaluating levels of risk, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) diligently conducted a comprehensive Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA). While this assessment provides significant environmental impact data and risk analysis, much is left to understand regarding hazards and risk exposure to local communities. More specifically, research is needed to understand hazards associated with operational- and anomaly- events of the spaceport’s activities. Utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) methods and Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) indicators, this study outlines hazards to vulnerable populations within varying proximities of the SpaceX “Starbase” Launch Facility. Findings will provide insight into alignments, deficiencies and discrepancies of risk exposure determinations presented within federal assessments.


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