SpaceX buys more land at proposed South Texas launch site

Jul 21, 2014
Austin American Statesman

SpaceX has purchased more land near a proposed commercial rocket launch site in South Texas, according to media reports, offering another indicator that Texas will land the space exploration company’s facility

Founded by billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX plans to build the world’s first private, commercial vertical rocket launch site. The South Texas site — which is at Boca Chica, a remote beach surrounded by wildlife areas about 20 miles east of Brownsville — has been competing with sites in Florida and Georgia for the launch facility. Musk has portrayed Texas as the frontrunner since he testified to the Legislature in 2013

SpaceX has not made a formal announcement on the selection of Boca Chica Beach, but the company this month completed the purchase of an additional 50 acres of land at the South Texas site, the Brownsville Herald reported

Citing public records, the newspaper reported that the 50 acres were purchased through SpaceX subsidiary Dogleg Park LLC. The purchase brings SpaceX’s property holdings at Boca Chica Beach to about 100 acres. According to the final environmental impact statement from the FAA, the launch facilities would be constructed on 68.9 acres of the currently undeveloped property that SpaceX has purchased or leased. The proposed site is 17 miles east-northeast of the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport and 5 miles south of South Padre Island

The records for the latest land purchase were filed on July 8, the newspaper reported, one day before SpaceX cleared a Federal Aviation Administration environmental review for the Texas site

While SpaceX will have additional permitting procedures to go through for the site and will need to meet national security, safety and insurance requirements, some experts say the FAA approval was the final key hurdle for the Texas site. Florida officials this week also conceded that they expect the Texas site to be chosen by SpaceX

Under the new state law, SpaceX could launch rockets up to 12 times a year, mostly between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but not on weekends or holidays unless the company can show local and state authorities that scrubbing a launch would cause significant business consequences. At least one nighttime launch would be allowed per year

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