A SpaceX expansion at Boca Chica spaceport?


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SpaceX’s request to the Texas government for an additional $5 million commitment might be because the company wants to expand on its original plans for its Boca Chica spaceport, and needs additional infrastructure work from the local authorities.

State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said SpaceX asked legislators to set aside funds to support space-related companies and operations in the state, though the money would not be specifically earmarked for SpaceX or the Boca Chica project. The company also has a rocket development facility in McGregor.

Oliveira, who helped assemble a coalition of key legislators to secure the $5 million in development aid, said some of the money might be used to support rocket operations beyond what SpaceX previously has said it wants to do at Boca Chica. “About a year ago, SpaceX came to me with their concept of a new, larger, expanded plan for Boca Chica Beach,” Oliveira said. “The concept went well beyond conducting launches, and would require new commitments for construction, investment and jobs to support the new operations.”

This could simply be a lobbying technique by Oliveira to get more money. Or it could be because SpaceX has actually decided to expand its plans for Boca Chica, which has the advantage over Florida in that the company would have no scheduling conflicts as the spaceport would be theirs entirely.

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4 comments

  • Dick Eagleson

    It makes sense that SpaceX might be doing the preliminaries needed to support future BFR/BFS operations at Boca Chica. The existing plan includes a Horizontal Integration Facility (hangar), launch pad, landing pads and LOX and RP-1 tank farms sized to support F9 and FH operations. BFR/BFS would require a second, larger pad, natural gas liquifaction/refining facilities and methane storage tank farm, more LOX capacity and, most likely, an assembly plant for BFR/BFS stages. The improvements to government-provided road and water supply infrastructure already needed for F9/FH operations would certainly need a sizable additional bump upward to handle BFR/BFS ops as well.

  • wodun

    Dick Eagleson has it nailed down as usual. So, could we look at how long it should take to make these improvements as a signal for how long it will take SpaceX to get BFR/BFS up and going? Can their other pads currently support BFR/BFS launches?

    Is there a local port or are they going to build their own facilities for the drone barges?

    Regardless of whether or not things happen as quickly as Musk claims, SpaceX is always diligently planning for future operations. It will be a big deal when Boca Chica comes online.

  • Tom Billings

    Wodun asked:

    “Is there a local port or are they going to build their own facilities for the drone barges?”

    There is Port Isabel, about 9 kilometers away from the launch pad. Since it will be supporting the LNG export plant now building nearby, it should have plenty of room for the drone barges and offloading for the Falcon boosters. The BFR/BFS should not need anything from there except the Methane refined from the Natural Gas brought in by pipeline.

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