Tag Archives: Texas

Federal agencies question establishment of SpaceX spaceport and three liquefied natural gas plants in Brownsville

Two federal agencies are questioning the safety of establishing three liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants near SpaceX’s new spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing the applications for the LNG export terminals, which plan to take natural gas from the Eagle Ford south of San Antonio, liquefy it and export the LNG to overseas customers.

The Federal Aviation Administration hosted an Aug. 18 meeting to discuss space launch activities near the proposed LNG facilities, according to a FERC filing released on Thursday. During the meeting, FAA officials discussed their role and regulations regarding commercial space launches, as well as the agency’s licensing and public safety requirements prior to the launch of any future mission.

While it makes perfect sense to keep a rocket launchpad safely away from large amounts of liquefied natural gas, I found the article’s concluding paragraphs to be most revealing:

Meanwhile, environmentalists, who were critical of the SpaceX project and oppose the LNG plants, said the launch site is too close to the proposed export terminals. “This announcement should be a wake-up call and warning that putting LNG terminals within six miles of the SpaceX launch site is a bad idea,” Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Chair Jim Chapman told the Business Journal. “Furthermore, Annova LNG wants to put its facility within the SpaceX launch closure area. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that idea won’t fly.” [emphasis mine]

Note how the environmentalists are essentially against everything. They really aren’t opposed to having these two facilities being placed too close to each other, what they really want is that nothing gets built at all. Most instructive.

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.

Texas town regulates SpaceX engine tests

Nice rocket company you got here. It would be a shame if something happened to it: The city council of McGregor, Texas, has imposed new regulations and fines on SpaceX should it perform rocket engine tests at its facility there in a manner the council does not like.

Though the city council was entirely within its rights, and the ban on night testing make sense, in reading the list of fines and regulations I couldn’t help thinking that they will in the end only accomplish one thing: to drive SpaceX away. This regulation in particular stood out:

The actual launching of any vehicle into the atmosphere or into space is specifically prohibited at the McGregor facility.

This would appear to ban SpaceX from doing any more hover tests of the Falcon 9 first stage. For an innovative company like SpaceX to operate as it wants, it needs the freedom to operate as it wants. These restrictions could prevent the company from doing so.

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.

Reality bites liberal Texas judge

The Texas judge who visited the infected apartment of America’s first ebola victim without protection has now had a complaint filed against him for endangering his own 9-year-old daughter.

The concerned citizen reached out to Breitbart Texas in a phone interview and provided information about his complaint to [Child Protective Services]. He told Brietbart Texas he wanted to remain anonymous because he is a business owner and is concerned about retaliation. He said he felt Jenkins’ conduct was inappropriate and unnecessarily exposed his child to potential danger. “I am doing this because I am concerned about the child,” the complainant said, “and I am concerned for the children in her school who might become exposed if the virus were to spread.”

Read the article at the link. The risks to the judge’s family and their acquaintances are real. Moreover, there is evidence that the judge has spent considerable time in contact with infected locations and individuals, without protection.

But he cares! That absolves him of any guilt should his actions causes others to die!

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.

The background to the Rick Perry indictment

A look at the historical background behind the absurd indictment this weekend.of Texas governor Rick Perry.

This indictment appears to be an example of the new Democratic Party modus operandi: Make up criminal charges against your opponents when you can’t beat them at the ballot box. They tried it in Alaska against Sarah Palin, they tried it in Wisconsin against Scott Walker and as many tea party activists there as possible, they tried it in Texas against Tom Delay, and back in the nineties they tried it against Newt Gingrich. In every case the charges were absurd and were eventually dropped or dismissed.

Now they are trying it against Rick Perry. If this is the best they can do it is no wonder no Democrat has won a state-wide election in Texas in years.

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 comptroller of New York City does not like the political opinions of a Texas business and the causes to which it contributes.

Fascist: The Democratic comptroller of New York City does not like the political opinions of a Texas business and the conservative causes to which it contributes.

The next step: Investigate them and put them in prison for daring to support such causes.

The BLM is considering taking advantage of an obscure legal dispute to confiscate 90,000 acres of privately owned land on the Texas-Oklahoma border

Fascists: The BLM is considering taking advantage of an obscure legal dispute to confiscate 90,000 acres of privately owned land on the Texas-Oklahoma border.

The last thing a just government would want to do is to steal land from the citizens. The legal issues need to be settled, but that is not the way to do it.

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.”

A Texas high school cut off the mike of a valedictorian during his speech when he deviated from his approved speech and began to talk about the Constitution.

The new freedom: A Texas high school cut off the mike of a valedictorian during his speech when he deviated from his approved speech and began to talk about the Constitution.

The school absolutely has the right in this context to cut off his microphone. I just find it a terrible approach to teaching.

The meteoric rise in Texas oil production since 2010.

The meteoric rise in Texas oil production since 2010.

Amazingly, oil production in the Lone Star State has more than doubled in less than three years, from 1.142 million bpd in July 2010 to 2.295 million bpd in February 2013, which has to be one of the most significant increases in oil output ever recorded in the history of the US over such a short period of time. A million bpd increase in oil output in less than three years in one state is remarkable, and would have never been possible without the revolutionary drilling techniques that just recently started accessing vast oceans of Texas shale oil.

The article does not going into any detail about why this boom suddenly started in 2010. They indicate that it is linked to the development of new drilling techniques, but I’d like to know more.

A decorated war veteran on a Boy Scout hike with his 15-year-old son was arrested by police in Texas because he was “rudely displaying” a firearm.

Does this make you feel safer? A decorated war veteran on a Boy Scout hike with his 15-year-old son was arrested by police in Texas because he was “rudely displaying” a firearm.

Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham told Fox News he was illegally disarmed by members of the Temple Police Dept. – even though he held the proper permits to carry his weapons. Grisham and his son were on a 10-mile hike in a rural area populated by wild boars and cougars. He was carrying an AR-15 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol. He was charged with resisting arrest – even though video his son filmed of the incident clearly showed that Grisham did not resist arrest. Police later reduced the charges to interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty – a class B misdemeanor.

Update: several commenters have pointed out facts about Grisham, including this very detailed report from Michael Yon, that raise serious questions about the reliability of this story. Worth reading.

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