SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Friday that the company plans to build a launchpad in Brownsville, Texas. This spaceport project could spark the renaissance of spaceflights in Texas, particularly the Johnson Space Center.
Musk further explained that the new launchpad will be built at Boca Chica, south of Texas. Construction will begin pending the wrap of an environmental impact study conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration, slated to finish in a couple months. The company has considered Texas the front-runner for the creation of the eight-acre spaceport, from which they hope to launch at least 12 rockets a year.
Brownsville officials are excited about the spaceport, as it could have positive effects on their economic situation.
Similarly, Sierra Nevada Corp., a private electronic systems company, announced that they are considering the possibility of landing their plane, the Dream Chaser in the Ellington Field which is near the Clear Lake area. The Dream Chaser is a smaller version of a space plane and can carry seven people. XCOR Aerospace, another company, has moved their research and development operations from California to Midland and is exploring the possibility of acquiring a spaceport license from Midland to enable them to launch their own spacecraft.
"It will be the first spaceport at an airport that also has commercial air service," XCOR's founder, Jeff Greason said to the Houston Chronicle. "Because of that, there are many issues to work through for the first time."
Director of Rice Space Institute David Alexander, commented that these developments showed that the state is invested in the advancement of commercial space industry in the country. He also added that the recent developments of SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and XCOR indicate the future of space infrastructure.
"When you combine this with the power and prestige of Johnson Space Center, its contractor community and the growing commercial space sector in the state, Texas is rapidly becoming a center for the new space ecosystem," Alexander said to the Houston Chronicle.