With Musk and his companies threatening to flee California, the billionaire hints at building a new city in South Texas to support space operations.
For Elon Musk and the pioneers of Spacex, the road to Mars passes directly through a small town of a few dozen houses in the southern tip of Texas. In a cryptic seven-word tweet last week, Musk hinted at his plans. The tweet read: “Creating the City of Starbase, Texas”. He continued, “From there to Mars, and from there to the Stars.” For the legions of SpaceX fans, the tweet was a not-so-subtle reference to the city of Boca Chica Village and Musk’s supposed desire to incorporate it into a new city, apparently called Starbase.
SpaceX has been a bit on a roll lately. Last November, the company successfully partnered with NASA to transport four astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Dragon module. On March 3, the company successfully launched one of its prototype Starship rockets six miles into the air before returning it to Earth and landing safely on a platform. The company’s best known and most ambitious plans are to send people to Mars.
And if you do, South Texas may be your starting point. Boca Chica is located by the ocean, several miles east of Brownsville, Texas. The community is close to the Spacex The South Texas launch site and the company has its sights set on significantly increasing its presence there. If SpaceX moved, took control and changed the name of the city, it could turn Boca Chica on the 21S t Cape Canaveral of the 21st century.
From there to Mars,
And hence the Stars.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 2, 2021
Musk fleeing California for a more hospitable habitat in Texas
The South Texas launch site is becoming the latest chapter in an ongoing saga that pits Musk squarely against the state of California. At a December event, Musk announced that he had personally moved to Texas and that he would also be relocating his businesses to Texas. The ongoing dispute began to erupt with the state’s decision not to allow Tesla’s Fremont facility to open last May during the height of the pandemic. There’s no indication yet how big Boca Chica’s development would be, but as with all things Musk, it almost definitely wouldn’t be small.
The US Army Corps of Engineers released SpaceX’s plans on Monday to continue development of the launch site. The site would include multiple orbital and suborbital launch pads, two test benches and an area for support equipment. SpaceX first moved to South Texas in 2014 and has significantly increased its activity there.
But not everything has been good news for the company and Musk. Before the successful Starship landing last week, SpaceX had two failed landings that resulted in dramatic explosions as the spacecraft descended onto the platforms. Musk has also seen his personal fortune shrink as Tesla, also owned by Musk, saw its value cut from nearly $ 900 a share to about $ 600 a share since January.
As for SpaceX and South Texas, Musk is definitely serious. Local authorities confirm that SpaceX representatives have approached to make a “Casual consultation” on the incorporation of Boca Chica and its renaming as Starbase, according to to Bloomberg. SpaceX has already received some resistance from local residents for its plans to increase its presence. In addition to its launch facility and Starbase, the aerospace company is reportedly interested in opening a luxury resort as part of its development plans for the area. Depending on its ability to appease its local neighbors, SpaceX can have a rough ride.
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