Dear reader and followers,
Monday morning, the September 22th, SpaceX broke ground at the site near Boca Chica beach in Cameron County, Texas, where it plans to build a commercial rocket launch pad. As SpaceX founder Elon Musk lifted a shovel of dirt, his ultimate goal of developing technology to enable trips to Mars took a step forward. “This feels great. It feels like the future,” Musk said. Governor Rick Perry and other dignitaries were also at this event. "This announcement represents a huge step forward for our state and continues our nation's proud legacy of scientific advancement," Perry said. "It builds upon our pioneer heritage, our tradition of thinking bigger, dreaming bolder, and daring to do the impossible. SpaceX is the latest in a long line of forward-thinking companies that have made Texas home, and I couldn't be prouder to help break ground on this revolutionary new facility." The Boca Chica site will be the world’s first commercial orbital space port.
Musk said he wants the company’s new commercial orbital rocket launch site to be operational as soon as possible. That means the paved launch site near the end of U.S. Highway 4 at Boca Chica should be complete in about nine months, with the first rocket launch taking place as early as late 2016. The rocket launch site will be located about three miles north of the Mexican border and about five miles south of Port Isabel and South Padre Island.
SpaceX intends to build a vertical launch area and control center to support 12 commercial launches per year. The vehicles launched include the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and smaller reusable, suborbital launch vehicles. Musk revealed that he expects “thousands of launches.” Furthermore, “when we start doing commercial crew activities, I would expect us to launch a crew from here,” he said. Moreover, he added "What’s important is to have a truly commercial launch site, just like we have commercial airports. Every sort of structure has its primary focus and I think it’s important that the world have a truly commercial orbital spaceport,”.
Rep. Filemon Vela, who introduced Musk and Perry, predicted that the “benefit from an educational and economic standpoint that SpaceX will bring to this region is something that many of us never dreamed of.” In addition, Perry said that “Over the course of the last 13, almost 14 years, we have looked for major projects of which we can make a really big impact on South Texas,” “I noticed the sign behind me that says ‘pavement ends in 1,000 feet.’ But the future of South Texas takes off right behind me. And that’s what today’s really all about.”
Perry also announced an investment of $9 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and The University of Texas System to establish STARGATE to develop and support commercial phased-array technology for satellite and space vehicle communication. The city of Brownsville, through the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation will contribute $500,000 to the project.
Monday's groundbreaking is the result of years of cooperation between Texas and SpaceX. The idea for a commercial spaceport in Texas was first discussed on a TexasOne trip to California in 2011. Since then, Gov. Perry has met with Elon Musk and written letters to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help secure clearance for the facility. Also, several members of the Governor's staff have appeared in front of the FAA to help bring the facility to Texas.
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