Spaceflight Insider

Work on SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site continues

SpaceX Falcon 9 Boca Chica Texas photo credit Juan Diego Delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

Construction at SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch complex in Texas continues as the company investigates a recent accident that occurred on Sept. 1, 2016, in Texas. Photo Credit: Juan Diego Delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

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.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Boca Chica Texas photo credit Juan Diego Delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: Juan Diego Delagarza / SpaceFlight Insider

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.

Reader Comments

The village has always only had a few permanent residents. Most houses are owned by winter Texans. They board them up when they leave because the houses are in hurricane country. Nobody has moved out because of SpaceX. Most of the people who leave sell because they’re in their late 80s or early 90s and don’t want to make the trip every year anymore.

It’s good to see the SpaceX fanboys have regained their manhood after their pet rocket blew itself sky high less than two weeks ago. Here’s an idea, why don’t you fix your broke junk before nitpicking any and everything that doesn’t adhere to the testament of Musk?

Ogle Mato,
SpaceX is still a relatively young company in the space-launcher business. Accidents are going to happen, and they will learn from such incidents to prevent them in the future. NASA’s old sub-contractors have been playing it safe with 50+ year-old technology by using throw-away boosters, and charging 3 times more than SpaceX does. Boeing and Lockheed aren’t visionary, and seem very reluctant to do anything that hasn’t already been done before, while the team at SpaceX, although they started out using legacy designs and improving them, are making great strides in developing unique solutions to realizing the dream of bringing space-travel into the mainstream, like aviation.

No toll to the troll. Mean spirited comments reflect poorly on the commenter. Live long & prosper.

I wonder if the returning stage 1 boosters will be landing here, telemetry is just right for East/West launches from California?

Commercial space is more than just manned spaceflight. Satellite launches are more frequent and that is the stated mission for the Boca Chica,TX Spaceport which is ideally located closer to the equator.

It’s Long Over Due,
Projects like SPACEX will insure that local HUMAN CAPITAL is developed in the RGV. The spin off business that it will create in the RGV and state wide will strengthen our economy and our family units.

Wrong Captain Kirk its just the beginning of many new and undiscovered frontiers in a vast variety of technological disciplines.

GOD I envy our children and what they will see and experience in their life times.


Jeff Charles Riviera

I lived in nearby Brownville through 1991. At that time, an investor was trying to establish a vacation venue there with residential and business facilities. It never got off the ground because there was absolutely NOTHING there, a barren beach with no access to potable water. The Rio Grand flows into the Gulf of Mexico there but the stream is nearly dry when it reaches the Gulf – and salt water backs up into it. Frequent hurricanes have demolished all settlements established on either side of the River’s mouth. I’ll be greatly surprised is that Space X venture amounts to anything, becoming a financial failure like the Tesla car.

robert ortega

i would like to know if you plane to hired security guard and what it would be required to apply with your company thank you

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