The office of Texas Governor Rick Perry has revealed that SpaceX has selected Brownsville, Texas as the site of a new launch facility for sending commercial satellites into orbit. The plans were revealed as part of an announcement by the Governor’s office that the Texas state government is providing US$2.3 million to provide infrastructure for the project, which is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $85 million in capital investments.
Until now, most launches in the continental United States have been confined to NASA and US Air Force facilities in Florida, California, and Virginia. Under discussion between the State of Texas and SpaceX for three years, this new facility still requires FAA and local approval, but if this is granted, it will open the way for the launching of commercial satellites using SpaceX’s Falcon launchers from a spaceport located far enough south to take advantage of the Earth’s spin to reduce fuel costs, and an over-water downrange over the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas is already home to SpaceX's Rocket Development Facility, which is located in McGregor, Texas and employs over 250 people. This is around 380 miles (610 km) north of Brownsville, which is located on the southernmost tip of Texas on the northern bank of the Rio Grande and home to some 180.000 people. Brownsville is also around 750 miles (1,200 km) southeast of Spaceport America located in neighboring New Mexico.
"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," says SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. "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."