Activity Picks Up at SpaceX’s Boca Chica Area

A second fence encompassing a greater amount of land has been placed along the perimeter of partial property that Elon Musk’s SpaceX owns at Boca Chica Beach, signaling increased activity at the planned site of the world’s first commercial and vertical orbital launch site.
Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda Jr. said he understands the larger fence delineates the site of the complex’s command or control center. Sepulveda said he believes the command center would be constructed first. “That’s the plan,” he said.
SpaceX’s construction office consisting of a double-wide trailer was established last year and is functional. It also is fenced and is within the larger fenced area.
Sepulveda also pointed out recently that the design work for the proposed $100 million launch complex at Boca Chica, 17 miles east-northeast of the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport and about 5 miles south of South Padre Island, was expected to be completed soon.
The proposed command center will be about 2 miles west from the vertical launch site, north of Boca Chica Boulevard, and adjacent to Boca Chica Village.
Sepulveda said Saturday that the county would be assisting SpaceX with…

Read more at The McAllen Monitor SpaceX.image

Bright Future for Brownsville

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez. Photo Courtesy of  Kaila Contreras/Collegian.

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez. Photo Courtesy of Kaila Contreras/Collegian.

In his State of the City address, Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez said “the opportunities before us have never looked brighter.”

Martinez, who delivered the speech Wednesday at the Brownsville Events Center before hundreds of people, said the unemployment rate is down to 9.03 percent; sales tax receipts are up nearly 7 percent over the last fiscal year; building permit values increased by 14 percent over Fiscal Year 2014; and revenue for Cameron County’s Veterans Memorial Bridge at Los Tomates is up more than 26 percent in the first quarter over the same time last fiscal year.

“Today, SpaceX has broken ground and they’re hiring people just as they said,” he said, adding that the company, which designs, builds and launches rockets and spacecraft, would bring 300 permanent jobs to Brownsville.

The company is building a rocket launch pad near Boca Chica Beach in Cameron County.

In an interview with The Collegian before the address, Martinez was asked what awaits Brownsville in 2015.

“I think you’re going to see a whole lot of interest in manufacturing,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a whole lot of interest in different types of jobs as to the ability to come in here and get started.”

Martinez announced that SpaceX will have a vendor fair on Tuesday at the Events Center.

In his speech, the mayor said he went along with representatives of STARGATE to ask for $500,000 in seed money from the Brownsville Economic Development Council. The Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Gigahertz Astrophysical Transient Emission, or STARGATE, research center will be a…

Read more on the Collegian.

Rio Grande Valley Companies Invited by SpaceX to Pitch Products, Services

Rio Grande Valley companies will have a chance to pitch their products and services to SpaceX at two vendor fairs the space cargo company has scheduled for this month.

 The first is planned for 9 a.m. on Feb. 24, at the Brownsville Event Center. The second will take place at 9 a.m. Feb. 25, at the McAllen Convention Center.

Space Exploration Technologies, a Hawthorne, Calif.-based company, is looking for select products and services relevant to its core business from Valley vendors.

Interested parties should contact the company to reserve a slot on one of the two days.

A limited number of slots are available and priority will go to…

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First Space X Launch from Brownsville Expected Next Year

Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer for Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, said he wants the company’s new commercial orbital rocket launch site at Boca Chica beach to be operational as soon as possible.

That means the paved launch site near the end of U.S. Highway 4 at Boca Chica should be complete in about nine months, with the first rocket launch taking place as early as late 2016.

The Boca Chica site will be the world’s first commercial orbital space port.

SpaceX is headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., and has a rocket engine development facility in McGregor, Texas.

Musk was on hand for Monday’s official groundbreaking along with Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D, Brownsville, Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, County Judge Carlos H. Cascos, Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, former UT-Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia and many other local officials, community leaders and stakeholders.

The waves on Boca Chica beach were clearly visible from the tent set up for the event, as rain from dark cumulus clouds fell in the distance.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D- Brownsville, who introduced Musk and Perry, predicted that the “benefit from an educational and economic standpoint that SpaceX will bring to this region is something that many of us never dreamed of.”

Perry, recognizing Cascos, Lucio and Oliveira, reflected on the “30 years we’ve worked together.”

“Over the course of the last 13, almost 14 years, we have looked for major projects of which we can make a really big impact on South Texas,” Perry said. “I noticed the sign behind me that says ‘pavement ends in 1,000 feet.’ But the future of South Texas takes off right behind me. And that’s what today’s really all about.”

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Another Milestone for Space X in Brownsville

Space Exploration Technologies — SpaceX — has reached the first milestone in its quest to launch crews to the International Space Station from U.S. soil, through a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract with NASA.

The space agency announced Dec. 19 that it had approved the milestone, which basically entailed SpaceX describing to NASA its “current design baseline,” including how the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket will be manufactured, launched, landed and the crew recovered.

The 9 v1.1 is the second version of the company’s rocket-propelled spaceflight launch system.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Also during what’s called the “Certification Baseline Review,” SpaceX outlined how it plans to win NASA certification of its system to ferry crews to and from the ISS. Kathy Lueders, manager of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, said the milestone “sets the pace for rigorous work ahead.”

On Sept. 16, the agency announced it had chosen SpaceX and Boeing to transport crews between Earth and the ISS with the Crew Dragon and CST-100 spacecraft, respectively. The aim of these contracts is to end the United States ‘reliance on Russia for getting crews to the ISS and also increase the size of the ISS crew, which will enable more research aboard the space station’s microgravity laboratory.

Having bigger crews on the ISS and allowing private companies to launch into low-Earth orbit will help NASA get the most research and experience out of U.S. investment in the ISS, according to the agency.

It also frees up NASA to expand its focus in development of the Space Launch System and Orion capsule for missions into deep space beyond the moon to further the skills and techniques necessary for humans to explore Mars, said the agency.

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“Next Stop, Mars” – Texas The Potential Launch Site For Putting Humans On Mars

“Next stop, Mars.”

That could be boarding call some day from the SpaceX launch facility near Brownsville where SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Texas Gov. Rick Perry helped break ground on Monday. Rocket launches could begin from the private commercial launch site in 2016.

Musk said the site could be used someday to help put the first human visitors on Mars, the Texas Tribune reported.

Elon Musk shows off SpaceX Dragon

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VIDEO: Gov. Perry Helps Break Ground on SpaceX Commercial Launch Facility

Gov. Rick Perry today helped break ground on the SpaceX Commercial Launch Facility located near Boca Chica Beach, which will launch commercial satellites into orbit.

“This announcement represents a huge step forward for our state and continues our nation’s proud legacy of scientific advancement,” Gov. Perry said. “It builds upon our pioneer heritage, our tradition of thinking bigger, dreaming bolder, and daring to do the impossible. SpaceX is the latest in a long line of forward-thinking companies that have made Texas home, and I couldn’t be prouder to help break ground on this revolutionary new facility.”

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SpaceX Supplier Acquires Brownsville Firm

A Michigan-based supplier to Space Exploration Technologies is coming closer to the action. Paragon D&E has purchased the assets of Rio Grande Tool in Brownsville, amid plans to expand its operations in the Lower Valley. Paragon designs, engineers, and manufactures complex tool systems for numerous heavy industries, including the aerospace industry — and currently works on bolt systems for Space-X rocket segments. 

A Paragon spokesman says the company hopes to be what he calls a “co-traveler” with Space-X, as it develops its first-in-the-nation commercial rocket launch facility on Boca Chica Beach.

McAllen, Harlingen Join SpaceX Incentive Efforts

Economic development groups throughout the Rio GrandeValley are chipping in as CameronCounty and other entities put together an incentive package for SpaceX, which is poised to construct the world’s first commercial launch pad at BocaChicaBeach.

Although the Brownsville Economic Development Council has led the way since word first broke that SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies, was looking at South Texas, others from as far away from McAllen are getting out their checkbooks to make Elon Musk’s vision a reality.

Efforts from the Harlingen Economic Development Corp. on Thursday got a boost when Cameron County Commissioners extended an invitation for the group to get involved.

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SpaceX Decision – The Rocket’s Green Glare

The SpaceX decision to build a launch facility on Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville will, eventually, be considered a historical moment that began the transformation of the Rio Grande Valley, and there is little doubt the economic and cultural impact will be significant for the region. However, SpaceX is only the most high-profile development in a series of investments being made in this 120-mile stretch of the Texas-Mexico border.

Eduardo Campirano, Director of the Port of Brownsville and chairman of the Rio South Texas Economic Council (RSTEC), expects the rocket launch business of Elon Musk to cast a bright light on economic expansion of the entire valley.

“The decision by SpaceX executives to locate its global launch facility in Brownsville,” Campirano said, “is one more indication of the economic and technological emergence of the Rio Grande Valley. We have a great higher educational complex to provide the scientists and engineers to help make SpaceX a success and as the world turns it’s eyes to Brownsville to watch the launches, they will also begin to see the varied business opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley.”

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Estimates are that SpaceX will create 500-600 permanent jobs for engineers and scientists. Musk, however, has said that, eventually, his company is likely to build rockets at a plant close to the launch site, which offers even more employment and economic growth. Brownville economic analysts are hopeful support businesses will locate nearby and they are anticipating as many as 20,000 tourists showing up for the monthly launches.

Brownsville, like most of the 40 communities of the Rio Grande Valley, has been battered by marginally accurate stories of spillover drug violence, poverty, and the humanitarian crisis associated with the immigration of Central American children. SpaceX elevates a national reconsideration of the Rio Grande Valley.

“So we’re really excited about having our area being put on the map in such a positive way,” Brownsville City Council member Deborah Portillo said. “But not only that, having something to counter all that negative criticism that has been put out there. You know if you really and truly think about it, a company like space x wouldn’t come to a community that has been painted so horribly by the media. That should give the general public pause, and they should ask if a billion-dollar company would really invest so much money to go into an area that is so dangerous. I don’t think so.”

Another important dynamic has also changed on the far South Texas border. The more than three dozen cities and towns that comprise the Rio Grande Valley have become more cooperative and less competitive with the realization that group efforts have a greater chance of success and benefits will be broader. The creation of RSTEC, a coalition of economic development groups and cities, and the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, which brings together chambers of commerce, has increased political influence in a region that has long been slighted by both political powers in Austin and outside investors.

“It’s going to add to what he have been promoting all along,” Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos said. “This is the area to be in. This is the front door to the United States. Not the back door. It is just amazing what this community can do when it works together for one common cause. Everyone is happy about it (SpaceX), the community should be happy because we’ve had a lot of support throughout. The economic and educational landscape of South Texas will be changed forever.”

Where the River Ends from RioSouthTexas on Vimeo.

Almost without notice, higher educational opportunities have been dramatically on the increase in the Rio Grande Valley. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will combine campuses in Edinburg and Brownsville in 2015 to create a major university along the border, which will include a new $54 million medical school. South Texas College, a community college, Texas State Technical College, and Texas Southmost are already offering secondary education to tens of thousands of young students.

Publicity, which has been historically bad along this stretch of the Mexico border with Texas, has turned in a different direction. National journalists who visited the valley to write about the humanitarian crisis discovered a more complex and nuanced narrative about an area that managed to deal with the influx of Central American children through volunteerism rather than rhetoric and politics. A number of those reporters, previously unaware of the Rio Grande Valley, expressed an interest in returning and writing stories about tourism, manufacturing, trade with Mexico, and a sub-tropical international lifestyle they discovered was more attractive than the almost non-story they were originally sent to report.

“Throughout this immigration controversy,” said Keith Patridge, CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, “we’ve consistently heard from out-of-towners like the reporters, how impressed they are with our communities and the willingness of our residents to help these kids from Central America. I think people are starting to learn that the Rio Grande Valley is nothing like what they’ve heard and has everything anyone might need to help grow a successful business and lead an interesting life.”

With UTRGV committing $700 million to the valley; the completion of Mexico’s coastal superhighway that will use valley bridges to shorten overland shipment trips to the northeastern U.S.; the staging of equipment for the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas and the giant Burgos Basin just across the river in Mexico; construction of gas liquefaction plants at the Port of Brownsville; the construction of Interstate 69 to Midwest markets; and the commitment of SpaceX; there are all kinds of rockets ready to take flight in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Source: Texas To The World and Huffington Post