SpaceX To Build First Ever Commercial Launch Site In Texas
SpaceX chooses one of the poorest cities in the U.S. for its first launch site —the first of its kind.By Sebastian Martinez | August 5, 2014
Rocket launches are on the way for one of the poorest cities in the U.S. after Texas Governor Rick Perry officially revealed the location for SpaceX’s new launch site. (Via NASA)
Billionaire Elon Musk’s space transportation company will build the site — the first ever exclusively commercial launch site — about 20 miles east of Brownsville, Texas at Boca Chica Beach. (Via Google)
The site isn’t actually in Brownsville, but the governor’s announcement forecasted it would bring 300 jobs and pour $85 million into the local economy. (Via Brownsville Economic Development Council)
As The Verge pointed out the site would be a boon for the impoverished town. Brownsville has a median income of just more than $30,000 with more than 36 percent of the town earning below the poverty rate. (Via 24/7 Wall St.)
And if local media outlets are anything to go off, it seems officials in the area are optimistic about the opportunities the development could bring, beyond the SpaceX jobs themselves.
"Each launch can bring thousands of tourists to south Texas. We anticipate that that's going to be a significant amount of business that we believe is going to come down." (Via KRGV)
And according to The Brownsville Herald, some local officials think the site "could launch an entire aerospace-support cluster industry in Brownsville."
There had been signs the Boca Chica location would be chosen.
The Dallas Morning News reported the site cleared an environmental evaluation from the Federal Aviation Administration in July, and as far back as "2013, the Texas Legislature changed the law to make it easier for SpaceX to operate in Texas."
And Musk’s company got a $2.3 million investment from the state to bring the site to Texas, which troubled some commentators. (Via Khan Academy)
“To have so many businesses that are based on models that require a certain amount of government support seems to be a risk to me.” (Via Fox Business)
Either way, the site will be a busy one, as Engadget reports SpaceX is already cleared for 12 launches a year, and speculates Musk wants to ultimately have multiple launches a day.
Coincidentally, SpaceX sent one of the Falcon 9 rockets the site will be hosting into space on Tuesday, successfully launching a commercial telecommunication satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida.