Gov. Rick Perry today announced that the state is offering $15.3 million in state funds to bring SpaceX’s commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County.
Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, the facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy.
“SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions. We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said.
“In addition to creating hundreds of high tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the south Texas area.”
Today’s much anticipated announcement comes following critical developments in July regarding SpaceX’s proposal. With issuance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s pivotal Record of Decision, supporting the issuance of launch licenses, Musk’s firm will be able to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical rockets, which also could carry the Dragon capsule — and a variety of smaller, reusable suborbital launch vehicles, from a private spaceport at Boca Chica Beach.
Also in July, a day before FAA issued its Record of Decision, SpaceX’s company Dogleg Park LLC purchased an additional 50 acres of land from private land owners, property that had been under option or lease since at least June 2012.
The purchase brings SpaceX’s property holdings at Boca Chica Beach to some 100 acres. Through Dogleg and The Flats at Mars Crossing LLC, the firm consistently has purchased and had leased properties at Boca Chica from early June 2012 through July.
During the last week in July, Dogleg submitted an application to Cameron County for a building permit to install small solar panels off-grid in the vicinity of the proposed launch control center at the proposed site.
Brownsville Economic Development Council Executive Vice President Gilbert Salinas also submitted an application to Cameron County for a commercial permit in connection with the BEDC-SpaceX-University of Texas at Brownsville’s STARGATE project, for construction of a 12,000-square-foot tracking center.
Cameron County is in the process of finalizing incentives and economic development agreements with SpaceX.
Last year, the county submitted an application for a $1 million grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas Capital Fund to assist “Project Propel,” as the SpaceX proposal was dubbed, with infrastructure improvements.
The space exploration firm proposes up to 12 launch operations a year through at least 2025. According to FAA, all Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches would carry payloads, including satellites or experimental payloads. Most payloads would be commercial. However, some could be Department of Defense and NASA payloads, or a federal contribution to a commercial payload.
SpaceX, which has nearly 50 launches on its manifest representing about $5 billion in contracts, plans to invest $73,650,000 in the Boca Chica project.
The facilities would be build on 68.9 acres of the currently undeveloped property SpaceX has purchased. The remaining acreage would remain open, according to the final environmental impact statement.