SpaceX completes installation of two antenna dishes in Boca Chica spaceport

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Capitalism in space: SpaceX has completed the installation of two ground station antenna dishes in its Boca Chica spaceport that will be used to facilitate communications with its manned Dragon missions.

A SpaceX spokesman said the antennas will also be used to track flights from Boca Chica once they’re underway. The company acquired the 86-ton antennas from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral and transported them to Boca Chica via semitrailer. The first antenna was installed this summer.

The article also implies that SpaceX plans to eventually launch manned missions from Boca Chica.



  • wodun

    SpaceX is currently permitted for up to 12 commercial launches a year from Boca Chica

    This was interesting too.

    This year they have only launched from one pad right? And the pad the FH launches from can launch F9 too?

    That means they could do over 40 launches a year between the three pads.

  • geoffc

    @Wodun – They launched Iridium (3 so far, #4 in December) + Formosat from Vandenberg. So 5 from Vandenberg out of 20 potential launches. 4/16 at the moment. They have 3 more Iridiums for next year, and more at Vandenberg.

    Good reference list:

    Once they get LC-40 back in service they need some time to convert LC-39A to Falcon Heavy. Once that is done,they can launch EITHER F9 or FH from LC-39A and only F9 from LC-40.

    Boca Chica is not even started on construction. (They dumped a few million lbs of dirt to compress and drain the swamp (Trump, you could learn from this! Dump a few million tons of dirt on the buerocracy!)).

  • wodun

    Thanks, I forgot about Vandenberg. Once Boca Chica is up and running they will have the capacity to more than double their launch rate if there is demand. And it looks like they want to expand at Boca Chica at some point too.

    Whether or not they eventually do, the other launch providers are probably a little worried. Scheduling wont be a way for them to compete.

    The interesting thing about that Reddit link is that SpaceX will do two Dragon Crew launches and then do a commercial Dragon Crew mission.

  • Edward

    More interesting is that the commercial Dragon Crew mission is the private free-return lunar mission. This is as bold as when NASA flew Apollo 8 to the Moon after a single manned flight with the spacecraft: Apollo 7. Perhaps more so, considering that SpaceX will have only one manned flight under its belt and NASA already had seventeen.

    Plus, Apollo 8 had two experienced astronauts and one rookie, while SpaceX’s moonshot will have only rookies.

    And apparently on the first Dragon to reenter at escape-velocity speed (unless they plan to do as NASA did with Apollo and accelerate the unmanned demonstration test Dragon, CCtCap Demo Mission 1, to the higher speed before reentry).

    “Bold” may be a strong enough word.

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