SpaceX Announces Plans to Build Launch Pad Facility in South Texas

July 15, 2013 – 04:29 pm

Spacex-elon-muskThe private spaceflight firm choose the city on the southern tip of Texas — near Boca Chica Beach — as the site of a new launch pad on Monday. SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk announced SpaceX's plans in a press release from Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office.

The SpaceX facility will reportedly include "a vertical launch area and control center to support 12 commercial launches per year, " and launch spacecrafts like "the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and smaller reusable, suborbital launch vehicles, " according to local newspaper .

The state offered a total $15.3 million — $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund and an additional $13 million from the Spaceport Trust Fund — to bring SpaceX to Brownsville and the larger Cameron County, according to the press release from Gov. Perry's office. Additionally, his office estimates that the new SpaceX facility will create 300 jobs and "pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy."

"SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world's first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions, " said Musk in the announcement. "We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality. In addition to creating hundreds of high tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the south Texas area."

In addition to the new Brownsville facility, SpaceX also has run a Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, since 2003, with more than 250 employees.

SpaceX's accomplishments range from successfully docking an unmanned SpaceX Dragon capsule at the International Space Station in March 2013 to launching its first satellite — after two failed attempts — in December. In May, Musk announced the SpaceX Dragon V2, "the world's first commercial, reusable manned spacecraft" that can, according to Musk, land vertically with "the accuracy of a helicopter."


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