Development at SpaceX’s Texas spaceport to pick up in 2018


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Capitalism in space: Though construction at SpaceX’s Texas spaceport has been slower than expected, the company expects to accelerate development in 2018.

According to SpaceX, [people] won’t have to wait much longer for an increase in activity at the future spaceport. The recently installed antennas at Boca Chica are expected to be operational next year — although they’ll initially track flights blasting off from elsewhere — and the company also indicated development of the overall launch complex should pick up. “Even as our teams worked to modernize and repair our launch complexes in Florida so that we could reliably return to flight for our customers, SpaceX invested $14 million into the South Texas project,” said Gleeson, the company’s spokesman.

“Now, with our launch construction projects in Florida wrapping up by early 2018, SpaceX will be able to turn more attention to our work in South Texas,” he said.

In other words, once SpaceX has got its two launchpads in Florida both up and running, including the first use by the Falcon Heavy of one of those pads, the company will then be able to shift its launchpad operations down to Texas.

The article outlines in detail many of the reasons the development has been slow, but I think the issues highlighted in the quote above, issues I had not considered previously, might be the most important. After the September 2016 launchpad explosion in Florida, SpaceX had to divert resources to repairing that pad, which put Boca Chica on the back burner.

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2 comments

  • Mark

    I’ve been expecting this news for the last few months. It only makes sense that SpaceX has a pad construction crew that were available to return to Texas after the Florida refurbication was done.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the site in action. Unlike Florida or California, the Texas location should have no scheduling conflicts with other launch providers. That should SpaceX a greater deal of flexibility than they’ve had before now. More flexibility should mean more efficiency.

  • Tom Billings

    “Unlike Florida or California, the Texas location should have no scheduling conflicts with other launch providers. That should SpaceX a greater deal of flexibility than they’ve had before now. More flexibility should mean more efficiency.”

    In addition it will most likely improve the access at the Cape itself. While today’s launch environment at Canaveral is greatly improved, there is still a strong bias toward people the 45th Space Wing has worked with for decades. That will likely disappear under the strong urging of the Florida congressional delegation the first year that launches begin at Brownsville. Also, money that just could not be found for innovations in range improvements for decades will magically appear in the budgets congressional committees oversee.

    Competition may not be comfortable, but it *is* a wonderful thing!

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