SpaceX to build launch site at Boca Chica Beach
Thursday 7, August 2014
The world's first vertical rocket launch site will be at Boca Chica Beach, on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and saddling the Rio Grande
Space Exploration Technologies' founder Elon Musk announced this morning the strategic decision to build a site in the outskirts of Brownsville, Texas, where the company plans to launch its signature Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX already has launch sites at Vandenburg, California and Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The much anticipated decision finally came, after more than 3 years of analyzing sites in Georgia, California, Virginia, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Florida. Within Texas, SpaceX was originally considering about a dozen locations from Cameron County to about 90 miles north, in the King Ranch area, but ultimately, Brownsville became the lone Texas finalist. Earlier this month, the project was given the green light by the Federal Aviation Administration, as part of the federal environmental process.
"What a historical moment for the greater Brownsville region and the State of Texas. It's the culmination of a dream and a vision, which began more than three years ago," said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez. "We will ensure that SpaceX has everything it needs in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex."
"The team effort would have never succeeded but for the immense support of the people of Brownsville, all of its surrounding neighbors and the state – to all of you 'mil gracias," added Mayor Martinez, who was instrumental in the incentives process and negotiations.
The Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation committed $5 million as part of the overall incentives package proposed to SpaceX for the vertical rocket commercial launch site and command center.
SpaceX plans to create 500 jobs over a 10-year period and invest $80 to $100 million in capital investment. The project entails three separate components: the rocket launch site, a control command center and a ground tracking station, all within 2 miles of each other. The actual launch operation will be built on a 5-acre footprint within the 50 acres.
"Our unique geographic location and proximity to both the equator and the Gulf of Mexico, gave Brownsville an advantage over the other locations being considered by SpaceX. However, the facilitation of doing business in Texas, the backing from many local entities, and the community-wide support was a huge factor in the decision making process of SpaceX locating in Brownsville," said Jason Hilts, Brownsville Economic Development Council President & CEO.
"The SpaceX launch site will go a long way to help fill the gap between business, higher education and entrepreneurship, which Brownsville needs to strategically and organically grow local talent, which in turn leads to innovation and wealth in the region," Hilts said.
The direct economic impact by SpaceX would be more than $51 million annually in salaries. Economic experts figure another 300 to 400 jobs will be created from suppliers either moving to or expanding in the Brownsville area.
The new space industry will enhance the supply-chain-logistics of the Brownsville-Matamoros local manufacturing base, which is a vital part of the automotive industrial corridor stretching from Central Mexico, through Texas and the Southern U.S. states.
"My deepest appreciation for the staff at SpaceX and Mr. Elon Musk for their consideration and efforts they have provided in making this a reality. A sincere thanks to the Governor's Office, our local legislators and my heartfelt appreciation for the BEDC, whose leadership and dedication gave it all," Mayor Martinez said.
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