Tue Apr 10, 2012, 01:32 PM
MicaelS (5,822 posts)
SpaceX considering a new 'Commercial Cape Canaveral' in Texas
SpaceX has filed a notice of intent with the FAA, indicating it wants to conduct an Environmental Impact Study for the construction of a new spaceport in Cameron County, Texas, on the Gulf and very near the northern border of Mexico. The site could make Texas a powerhouse in commercial space.
Politics aside, from the perspective of the population of Cameron County, the choice of Texas could potentially cement the state as a commercial space hub and eventually bring in tens of thousands of jobs. According to the Environmental Impact Report, operations would consist of up to 12 launches per year with a maximum of two Falcon Heavy launches. All Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches would be expected to have commercial payloads, including satellites and experimental payloads, and those payloads would be integrated in Texas before launching east over the Gulf of Mexico.
The site is also much closer to the SpaceX integration and testing facility in McGregor, Texas than Cape Canaveral. The mention of suborbital launch vehicles in the EIS filing suggests that SpaceX research efforts to land and reuse a first stage could be hosted from a Texas launch site. By launching east from Texas, it may be possible for the first stage to make a powered landing in Florida without having to perform a retrograde maneuver, going some way towards realizing Musk's dream of making the Falcon 9 reusable.
SpaceX could also potentially reduce costs and delays by launching from Texas. There's plenty of red tape associated with Kennedy Space Center, and the center is often reserved for large blocks of time by other launchers. If SpaceX had its own pad, it wouldn't have to share. Regardless of whether Congress delays American space access to ISS for another year, a private Texas spaceport seems attractive for the company, which has the majority of the commercial launch market sewn up over the next few years.
More at link.
Cameron County is southernmost county located in Texas, and Brownsville is the county seat. Right on the Gulf so an abort can drop into the Gulf.
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SpaceX considering a new 'Commercial Cape Canaveral' in Texas (Original post)
Response to MicaelS (Original post)
Tue Apr 10, 2012, 02:09 PM
sonias (18,063 posts)
1. That would be so awesome on so many counts
1) Excitement alone (Maybe Neil deGrasse Tyson would be at the launch the first payload)
2) South Texas needs jobs more than any other area in the state (heavily Democratic too!)
3) Texas would be back in the exploration of space business
4) Would encourage kids to get into science and math!
4) Tourism and prestige for us
5) And I love space and space travel!