Tag Archives: Brownsville

SpaceX lobbies Texas government for spaceport backing

The competition heats up: In testimony today before the Texas legislature, a SpaceX official called for more government funding to support the company’s spaceport construction in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas.

At a recent joint legislative committee hearing held at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Caryn Schenewerk, senior counsel and director of governmental affairs for SpaceX, pointed out that zero dollars were appropriated to the Texas Spaceport Trust Fund during last year’s legislative session. In contrast, Schenewerk said, Florida commits $20 million a year to its spaceport infrastructure fund.

“One of the things I want to highlight for you is that unfortunately, the spaceport trust fund was not funded in the 84th Legislature and we will certainly be advocating for it to be considered by the 85th and for it to be part of the budget in the 85th Legislature,” Schenewerk testified. “By contrast, Florida consistently funds its space infrastructure fund to a tune of $20 million a year. Those infrastructure matching grants go to exactly the kind of activities that we are undertaking at Boca Chica. They are public-private partnerships for investing specifically in what is so costly an undertaking, the infrastructure.”

Obviously, SpaceX’s spaceport is going to require an increased financial commitment by the state government to build and maintain the increased infrastructure that such large operations require. At the same time, SpaceX doesn’t need a handout. They shouldn’t expect the taxpayers to pay for their private spaceport.

The article does provide some updated information about the spaceport’s construction status. It looks like they are aiming for a 2018 launch date.

Prep work for SpaceX’s Texas spaceport continues

The competition heats up: Though the first launch there is likely delayed until 2018, SpaceX has begun the preliminary foundation work to begin constructing its private spaceport near Brownsville, Texas.

They are hauling in a gigantic amount of dirt to stabilize the ground before work on the launchpads themselves begins.

Construction at SpaceX’s new spaceport about to begin

The competition heats up: SpaceX has begun prepping the construction sites at its private spaceport in Brownsville, Texas.

The county has begun work on a road to where the spaceport command center will be, and SpaceX has established its construction headquarters in a double-wide trailer there. It is expected that actual construction of the command center will begin in August, with the launchpad construction to follow.

The expected cost for building the entire spaceport: $100 million. Compare that to the billions the Russians are spending for Vostochny, or the billions that NASA spends on comparable facilities.

SpaceX breaks ground on new spaceport

The competition heats up: At a ceremonial ground-breaking today in Brownsville, Texas, SpaceX officially began construction on the company’s own private spaceport for launching commercial satellites.

I will have more to say about this tomorrow. Regardless, this is a big deal, a private company building its own private spaceport.

SpaceX strikes deal with Texas to build spaceport

The competition heats up: Texas today announced an agreement with SpaceX, finalizing the company’s plans to build the world’s first commercial spaceport near Brownsville, Texas.

More here. The deal remains contingent on SpaceX getting all required permits from the federal government, but I doubt that will be a problem.

A new water supplier for SpaceX’s Texas spaceport.

A new water supplier has stepped forward to help fill SpaceX’s gigantic water needs at its proposed Texas spaceport.

An earlier news story had noted the insufficient water capacity in Brownsville compared to the amount of water SpaceX would need for its rocket launches. This new report illustrates how competition and the potential for profits always seems to solve these kinds of problems.

The proposed SpaceX spaceport in Brownsville, Texas, has passed its final federal environmental review.

The proposed SpaceX spaceport in Brownsville, Texas, has passed its final federal environmental review.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had raised concerns about possible impact on habitat for some endangered species, ultimately concluded that “the project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed or proposed to be listed species nor adversely modify piping plover critical habitat.”

But wildlife officials don’t expect the project to be harmless: Two individual cats, either from the endangered ocelot or jaguarondi species, could be lost as a result of the project in spite of efforts to avoid just that with measures such as posting warning signs along the road leading to the launch site. And federal wildlife officials also anticipate that more than 7 miles of beachfront used by nesting sea turtles could be disturbed by security patrols, though driving is already permitted on the beach.

I think every American should read these two paragraphs to gain an understanding of how ridiculous these environmental regulations sometimes are. This report appears to be junk and an enormous waste of effort and time.

The bottom line is to consider what has happened in Florida. The government established a wildlife preserve surrounding the Kennedy Space Center and the wildlife has been flourishing there for more than a half century. Because a launchpad is used so infrequently (12 times a year is what SpaceX proposes for Brownsville), it inflicts very little harm on the environment.

SpaceX continues to acquire land in Texas for its planned spaceport in Brownsville.

The competition heats up: SpaceX continues to acquire land in Texas for its planned spaceport in Brownsville.

Elon Musk’s Dogleg Park LLC picked up an additional five lots in late April, bringing the total number of lots it has acquired in Cameron County to 95. The total land area that SpaceX now owns is roughly 38 acres of land, public records show. This is in addition to 56.5 acres that SpaceX has under lease at the site of what would be the world’s first private and commercial vertical launch site.

Compared to the acquisitions made by the federal government when it established its space centers in Florida and Wallops Island, these purchases are small. Nonetheless, they are likely sufficient for what the company plans to do.

At the end of a press conference Elon Musk lets slip the news that SpaceX has chosen Brownsville, Texas as the location of its commercial spaceport.

At the end of a press conference Elon Musk lets slip the news that SpaceX has chosen Brownsville, Texas as the location of its commercial spaceport.

They still have to get some FAA and environmental approvals, but expect to be launching from Texas in “a couple of years.”

The purchase of land by SpaceX in the Brownsville, Texas area reveals the name the company is considering giving is spaceport there.

The purchase of land by SpaceX in the Brownsville, Texas area might have revealed the name the company is considering giving to its spaceport there.

It appears they have combined the various plots of land that they have purchased and named that development “Mars Crossing.”

It appears that Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Georgia are all competing to be the location of SpaceX’s proposed private commercial spaceport.

The competition heats up: It appears that Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Georgia are all competing to be the location of SpaceX’s proposed private commercial spaceport.

Environmental activists have launched a petition drive to stop SpaceX from building a commercial spaceport in Brownsville, Texas.

The wrong side of history: Environmental activists have launched a petition drive to stop SpaceX from building a commercial spaceport near Brownsville, Texas.

“I love the space program as much, if not more, than anyone,” said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. “But launching big, loud, smelly rockets from the middle of a wildlife refuge will scare the heck out of every creature within miles and sprays noxious chemicals all over the place. It’s a terrible idea and SpaceX needs to find another place for their spaceport.”

This guy obviously doesn’t know that almost all of the Kennedy Space Center is a wildlife refuge, and a successful one at that. But then, what do facts have to do with most environmental causes?