With Musk and his companies threatening to flee California, the billionaire hints at building a new town in south Texas to support space operations.
For Elon Musk and the pioneers at SpaceX, the path to Mars goes directly through a small town of a few dozen homes at the southern tip of Texas. In a cryptic, seven-word tweet last week Musk hinted at his plans. The tweet said, “Creating the city of Starbase, Texas.”He continued, “From thence to Mars, And hence the Stars.” To the legions of SpaceX followers out there, the tweet was a not-so-subtle reference to the town of Boca Chica Village and Musk’s purported desire to incorporate it into a new town, apparently to be named Starbase.
SpaceX has been on a bit of a roll lately. Last November the company successfully partnered with NASA to shuttle four astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Dragon module. On March 3 the company successfully launched one of its Starship prototype-rockets six miles into the air before returning it to Earth and safely landing on a platform. The company’s best-known and most ambitious plans are to send people to Mars.
And if it does, South Texas may well be its jumping-off point. Boca Chica stands seaside, several miles east of Brownsville, Tex. The community is near the SpaceX South Texas launch site and the company has its sights set on significantly growing its presence there. If SpaceX were to move in, takeover, and rename the town, it could turn Boca Chica into the 21st century’s Cape Canaveral.
Creating the city of Starbase, Texas
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 2, 2021
Musk Fleeing California For More Hospitable Habitat In Texas
The South Texas launch site is becoming the latest chapter in an ongoing saga that pits Musk squarely against the state of California. In a December event, Musk announced that he had personally moved to Texas and would be relocating his businesses to Texas as well. The ongoing tiff began to boil over with the state’s decision to not allow Tesla’s Fremont facility to open last May during the height of the pandemic. There’s no indication yet of how large the Boca Chica development would be, but as with all things Musk, it almost definitely would not be small.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made public Monday SpaceX’s plans to continue development of the launch site itself. The site would include multiple orbital and suborbital launch pads, two test stands, and an area for support equipment. SpaceX first moved to South Texas in 2014 and has significantly increased its activity there.
But it hasn’t been all good news for the company and Musk. Prior to Starship’s successful landing last week, SpaceX had two failed landings resulting in dramatic explosions as the crafts descended upon the platforms. Musk has also watched his personal fortune shrink as Tesla, also owned by Musk, saw its value trimmed from nearly $900 per share to about $600 per share since January.
As for SpaceX and south Texas, Musk is most definitely serious. Local authorities confirm that SpaceX representatives have reached out to make a “casual inquiry” about incorporating Boca Chica and having it renamed Starbase, according to Bloomberg. SpaceX has already gotten some resistance from local residents for its plans to grow its presence. In addition to its launch facility and Starbase, the aerospace company is reported to be interested in opening a luxury resort as part of its area development plans. Depending on its ability to assuage its local neighbors, SpaceX may be in for a rocky ride.