As SpaceX founder Elon Musk lifted a shovel of dirt at Boca Chica in Cameron County, his ultimate goal of developing technology to enable trips to Mars took a step forward with Monday’s ceremony at the site of the world’s first private, commercial rocket launch complex. “This feels great. It feels like the future,” Musk said.
“The long-term goal is to create technology necessary to take humanity beyond Earth to Mars and establish a base on Mars,” Musk said. “So it could very well be that the first person that departs for another planet could well be departing from this location.”
Under an overcast sky, and at the location where the launch pad will be constructed, about 300 yards from the beach, Musk talked about SpaceX’s goals: to immediately develop the commercial space complex at Boca Chica to meet SpaceX’s ever growing manifest.
He intends to have the first launch in late 2016, with an initial 12 launches a year. Ultimately, “thousands of launches,” he projected. Furthermore, “when we start doing commercial crew activities, I would expect us to launch a crew from here,” he said.
“What’s important is to have a truly commercial launch site, just like we have commercial airports. Every sort of structure has its primary focus and I think it’s important that the world have a truly commercial orbital spaceport,” Musk added.
“This will be quite a significant endeavor,” Musk said about developing the complex, with about $100 million to do so.
Musk said that investments would continue into the future, not including the business initiatives that would settle in the area to support SpaceX operations.
“The fundamental point that swayed SpaceX for Boca Chica was the tremendous outpouring of support from local residents,” Musk said, adding that the willingness of state and local governments to support the project also had been a significant factor.
“We want to be in a place where we are truly wanted,” he said.