Skip to Content

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at We’ve made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the 'Feedback' button on the bottom right of each page!


Safety Zone; Atlantic Ocean, Cape Canaveral, FL

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Document Statistics
Document page views are updated periodically throughout the day and are cumulative counts for this document. Counts are subject to sampling, reprocessing and revision (up or down) throughout the day.
Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble Start Printed Page 52919


Coast Guard, DHS.


Temporary final rule.


The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters within defined points during the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 SAOCOM1B mission. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by space vehicles being launched in a direction resulting in a polar orbit trajectory. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Jacksonville.


This rule is from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on August 27, 2020.


To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to, type USCG-2020-0536 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

Start Further Info


If you have questions on this rule, call or email LT Emily Sysko, Sector Jacksonville, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 904-714-7616, email

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking

§ Section

U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because the SpaceX Falcon 9 SAOCOM1B mission was originially scheduled and approved only 20 days before the safety zone would have been in effect on March 30, 2020. Then, the launch was cancelled completely on March 26, 2020, with no potential launch date. Then, on June 25, 2020, Captain of the Port Sector Jacksonville was notified that the launch was back on the schedule with a tentative launch date of July 25, 2020 but was subsequently cancelled. On August 19, 2020 Captain of the Port Jacksonville was notified that the launch was approved for August, 27, 2020. It is impracticable to publish an NPRM because to be effective the safety zone must be established by July 25, 2020.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be impracticable because of safety concerns that should be mitigated by using a safety zone during space vehicle launches.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 46 U.S.C. 70034. The Captain of the Port Jacksonville (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with a space vehicle launch, on August 27, 2020, will be a safety concern for anyone within a 240 square nautical mile (nm) area seaward of Cape Canaveral, FL. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone during launch.

IV. Discussion of the Rule

This rule establishes a safety zone from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on August 27, 2020. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within a 240 square nm area in the path of the SpaceX Falcon 9 SAOCOM1B launch. The duration of the zone is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the surrounding navigable waters while the launch occurs. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative.

V. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.

This regulatory action determination is based on the limited duration of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone which would impact the offshore area around Cape Canaveral for less than 6 hours. Moreover, the Coast Guard would issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

B. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please call or email the Start Printed Page 52920person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

This rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

F. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023-01, Rev. 1, associated implementing instructions, and Environmental Planning COMDTINST 5090.1 (series), which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting only six hours that will prohibit entry of a 240 square nm area for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 SAOCOM1B mission. The REC for the originally planned launch will be used as the substance of the determination has not changed, only the date of launch. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L60(a) of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023-01-001-01, Rev. 1. A Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket. For instructions on locating the docket, see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble.

G. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to call or email the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

  • Harbors
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Security measures
  • Waterways
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

Start Part


End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 46 U.S.C. 70034, 70051; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add § 165.T07-0536 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Safety Zone; Atlantic Ocean, Cape Canaveral, FL.

(a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the Atlantic Ocean, from surface to bottom, encompassed by a line connecting the following points beginning at Point 1: 28°36′30.95″ N 80°35′38.67″ W, thence to Point 2: 28°37′59.99″ N 80°23′00.00″ W, thence to Point 3: 28°27′32.62″ N 80°17′51.71″ W, thence to Point 4: 28°21′06.81″ N 80°22′39.89″ W, thence to Point 5: 28°10′00.58″ N 80°21′39.38″ W, thence to Point 6: 28°10′00.00″ N 80°24′00.00″ W, thence to Point 7: 28°25′50.40″ N 80°34′14.81″ W, and following along the shoreline back to the beginning point. These coordinates are based on WGS 84.

(b) Definitions. As used in this section, designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel, and U.S. Air Force range safety personnel, and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Jacksonville (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone.

(c) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

(2) To seek permission to enter, transit through, anchor in or remain within the safety zone contact the COTP Jacksonville by telephone at (904) 714-7557 or the COTP's representative via VHF-FM radio on channel 16. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

(d) Enforcement period. This section will be enforced from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on August 27, 2020.

Start Signature

Dated: August 21, 2020.

M.R. Vlaun,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Jacksonville.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-18886 Filed 8-26-20; 8:45 am]