SpaceX’s intent is to develop and activate the commercial launch site at Boca Chica in Cameron County expeditiously in order to meet an expectedly growing manifest.
Commercial launch missions to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and beyond would be transferred to the new launch complex also. “Our preference is to try to move — particularly the commercial GTO missions — to the Boca Chica launch site as soon as we can,” SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk said Monday. Musk noted that “there is a significant benefit” in that the Boca Chica site is south of Cape Canaveral, Florida, “and that should help for GTO missions.” Most of the commercial missions involve the launching of satellites.
As Jason Davis with The Planetary Society has explained: “GTO is the last stop for payloads headed to geostationary orbit, where satellites cruise around the world at the same speed the Earth rotates, keeping them at a constant longitude. Geostationary orbits are more than 35,000 kilometers high — much higher than your run-of-the-mill 400-kilometer low-Earth orbit, where the International Space Station hangs out.”
Musk, in meeting with reporters at Monday’s groundbreaking for the Boca Chica site, also emphasized that the launch sites SpaceX uses at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Station in California “are great launch sites, but they are military launch sites.” SpaceX also is presently upgrading NASA’s historic Launch Pad 39A.