- SpaceX has been buying up properties from a community of retiree-age residents in South Texas called Boca Chica Village.
- Now, according to a new SpaceX job posting, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk plans to build a “SpaceX Village” adjacent to its Starship rocket-development and launch site.
- SpaceX Village may feature 100 bookable rooms, kayaking outings, a rock-climbing wall, volleyball tournaments, and spaceport lounge parties.
- However, a handful of residents have said they do not plan to sell their properties to SpaceX.
SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, hopes to construct a new private community at the southern tip of Texaswhere a dwindling retirement community already exists.
The goal of the new community is to make Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX’s private spaceport with eyes on Mars is coming together, “an epic place to live and work.”
“SpaceX Village” may have 100 electronically bookable rooms and regularly planned activities, such as volleyball tournaments, rock climbing, kayaking, and “spaceport lounge events and parties.” That’s according to a new full-time job posting for a “project coordinator” (embedded below) that SpaceX published to its careers site. SpaceX removed the listing during the course of our reporting, but a copy of it has been preserved below.
The job’s responsibilities center on creating that “epic” environment, owning “the final layout and operation of the spaceport lounge (restaurant and bar)” and planning events and parties there, running the basic construction and maintenance of the village, and developing an automated booking system for the planned 100 rooms.
The listing doesn’t specify whether all 100 rooms will be for workers, or whether all of them are designed to be temporary, but Google and Facebook have constructed similar housing communities for that purpose. Musk tweeted earlier in February that SpaceX was “going max hardcore” on Starship design and production, indicating that employees would be working around-the-clock to realize the new system
Business Insider reported in January that Musk was already living part time in a home that SpaceX purchased in December.
Though the listing does not mention it, Boca Chica is where SpaceX is rapidly developing a steel rocket system called Starship. If realized as Musk has envisioned, Starship would stand 39 stories tall, ferry perhaps 1 million people to Mars, reduce the cost of access to space by approximately 99%, and disrupt the transcontinental and international airline industry.
SpaceX Village is apparently being planned right on top of Boca Chica Village: a preexisting, though shrinking, community of retiree-age residents. SpaceX has convinced about half of the homeowners there to sell to the company since a buyout program started on September 12.
However, a cadre of residents do not plan to sell to SpaceX, according to reporting by Business Insider, and a nonprofit law firm said it may represent them in court should Cameron County, which encompasses Boca Chica Village, attempt to remove them through an eminent-domain process.
Carlos Cascos, the former judge of Cameron County, told Business Insider he did not recall any plans for a SpaceX Village or another worker community in an agreement the county signed around 2013
‘You won’t want to live here; it’ll be inhospitable’
Maria Pointer, who recently sold the home she shares with her husband, Ray Pointer, to SpaceX, said while she understood why employees would need to live on-site (Brownsville, Texas, the nearest city, is a 30-minute drive west), she found the job posting “shocking” and “saddening.”
Pointer said that during a private meeting with fellow residents and Musk on September 28, the CEO recommended they sell and move because of safety issues posed by Starship. (The vehicle may harbor about 9 million pounds of propellants — nearly 50% more than NASA’s Saturn V rocket used to launch moon-landing missions.)
“Elon was 3 feet from me, and he looked right down at me, and he said, ‘You won’t want to live here; it’ll be inhospitable,'” she told Business Insider. “I hope he didn’t know about this when he told me that it’d be inhospitable. I hope that was previous to this plan. Because if he knew this plan at the time that he told me that, then it was outright lie.”
She added: “Is he going to treat Mars the same way he treats Earth? And I say he, but I mean his corporation.”
A person with knowledge of the matter, whose identity Business Insider verified but who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said Musk sent a companywide email over Thanksgiving weekend calling for employees to relocate to the Brownsville area and try to build an exciting community there
SpaceX and Cameron County did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.