Work on SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site continues
BOCA CHICA, Texas — A recent visit to the SpaceX Launch Site at Boca Chica Beach in Texas revealed that efforts to have the NewSpace firm’s Falcon 9 launch from the Lone Star State are steadily moving forward. Heavy equipment on site at two locations show that development of the property has begun.
The foundation build up can be seen being worked on, with a huge pile of earth transported onto the site that will be used to reinforce the settling sand for the main structures.
While work is proceeding apace at the launch site, the nearby community itself appears to be receding.
Boca Chica Village, by appearances, can be viewed as having fewer people living in it. This is due to, for the most part, to some of the town’s boarded-up buildings. These concerns, as is the case at Cape Canaveral, Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California – are unfounded as consideration of where launch vehicles fly from is given careful consideration before the first rocket even leaves the pad.
“[…] the company’s public filings indicate that the homes in Boca Chica village will be outside of the BDA on launch day,” SpaceX told SpaceFlight Insider.
Some residents appear to have moved on to other locations, possibly due to concerns about safety considering how close they are to what will be an active launch facility.
Despite this, it is hoped that having this launch facility will provide a positive impact in the area by means of creating jobs and having a boost to the local economy.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2017, with launches potentially starting as soon as 2018. SpaceX has stated that while NASA missions (launches of probes to different parts of the solar system, as well as the company’s Commercial Cargo Resupply Services and Commercial Crew Program) will still be launched from the Cape, the launch of some non-NASA payloads (such as the SES, Thaicom and JCSAT satellites SpaceX has already sent to orbit) would likely move to Boca Chica.
Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX could have as many as four launch sites from which to send the firm’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. They include two operational sites, Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 and Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-4E, as well as two sites that are currently being either refurbished or constructed – Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and Boca Chica (respectively).
At present, SpaceX is investigating the cause of the Sept. 1 explosion, but a recent report that appeared on Ars Technica cited SpaceX’s COO Gwynne Shotwell as stating the company could launch again as soon as November of this year (2016).
Juan was born in California but raised in South Texas (Brownsville). He is a veteran of Desert Storm (1991) and current Army Reservist assigned to Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. De La Garza has proven his motivation and dedication of his passion in aviation, spaceflight advocacy and local events through still photography. De La Garza photographed SCA905's move from Ellington Airport to Space Center Houston as part of The Rise of INDEPENDENCE event which saw the shuttle replica placed atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Aug. 14, 2014. De La Garza also serves as a contributor to Astro95 Media.