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Space United States Technology

SpaceX Wins FAA Permission To Build a Spaceport In Texas 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-build dept.
Jason Koebler writes SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality. Wednesday, the FAA, which handles all commercial space launch permitting in the United States, issued what's known as a "Record of Decision" that suggests the agency would allow the company to launch 10 Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year out of the spaceport, through at least 2025.

SpaceX Wins FAA Permission To Build a Spaceport In Texas

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  • Spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border...

    Rockets with Taco Bell sponsorships?

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Why didn't I think of that.... penal colony for illegal immigrants involving long term imprisonment and hard labor.

      Instead of returning them home, send them on a one-way trip to mars or the moon.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Why didn't I think of that.... penal colony for illegal immigrants involving long term imprisonment and hard labor.

        Does a private prison company gaining sentience and posting on Slashdot count as AI, some kind of group mind or just a regular evil overlord?

    • Burrito-fueled rockets to get illegals in across the border.

    • It's nice you vomited the first thing you thought of onto the page, but you won't find anything even vaguely resembling Taco Bell in Mexico. Did you really think that? Sad.
    • Why not?

      Pizza Hut did it back in 2000.

      http://www.spacedaily.com/images/proton-pizza-bg.jpg
  • better map link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday July 10, 2014 @08:40PM (#47428477)

    If you can't read the scaled-down map reproduced from the report in the linked blog post, you can either look on p. 54 of the PDF, or else here's the site on OpenStreetMap [openstreetmap.org]. It appears it's not just that they're being given permission for the launches, but also that they're being given use of the land: the approved launch site is Texas state-owned land in Boca Chica State Park, which they'll be allowed to construct a facility on, and use for a certain number of days/year.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Now it's just 5 years of environmental studies, lawsuits and billion dollar "mitigation" measures.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's Texas. They'll be breaking ground next month.

        • Oh fvck yes.

          Midland (Tx) is awaiting FAA Spaceport approval after shoveling some ED money and incentives at SpaceX...

          There will be no intentional delay. They're on it, doggone it.

        • by Loki_1929 (550940)

          It's Texas, they broke ground three weeks ago.

          FAA? Never heard of 'em.

  • Isn't there one near the Mexico border in NM that already exists?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      South Padre Island is much farther south than the Spaceport in NM, which gives a significant velocity boost and thus less fuel to get into orbit. It also means launching over ocean which has less liability concerns than launching over land (even if it's mostly open desert). I don't know of anyone who has any plans to use the Spaceport for orbital launches, just straight up & down sub-orbital flights and testing.

  • by retech (1228598) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @09:48PM (#47428805)
    Took a job in Brownsville. Left Detroit. Flew down there. In the course of 6 months... The university campus was closed because of a cartel fight that saw bullets crossing the border and hitting classrooms. The daily headcount of dumped bodies (on either side) was greater than Detroit's. Crossed, over to go out to eat. The building across the street had two grenades lobbed into it while we ate. Mind you, this was less than .5 miles from Brownsville.

    The area that they want to build (actually have been building for a while now) is flooded during spring break with high school and university kids. It's cheap, beach, and poorly patrolled. If you work for them, you'll have to live in Brownsville and deal with the beach crap for 6 weeks a year.

    I really cannot think of a less desirable location to build this "space port".
    • The Mexicans involved in the trafficking of illegal narcotics are very careful to tread lightly North of the Rio Grande.

      They can buy Mexico.

      Angering the gueros is bad for business.

      • by retech (1228598) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @11:01PM (#47429071)
        Used to. The published numbers just do not show the reality. Between friends and family in B-ville and McAllen and knowing the number of shootings and car bombings they've witnessed, not one of them get's to the news. Hell, at my job down there, (worked for the state) we were told to NOT post any stuff on social media like: "OMG there was a shooting outside the mall today." One morning there was a shootout at the mall, 3 ppl hit. I thought surely this would make the news. Not a word of it anywhere.
    • by strack (1051390)
      Hey man, if you know of another place in the contiguous United States at the lowest possible latitude with only ocean in the direction you want to launch rockets, and no other launch sites to work your own launch schedule around, let us know.
    • Do you REALLY think they just drew the name Brownsville out of a hat? And then decided to locate there? WTF? You're talking about it like it's some kind of voluntary choice. Please tell me you're not that stupid.

      Look at a map of America. Brownsville is at the southern tip. Being as far south as possible as advantageous for putting satellites into orbit. Why do you think Cape Canaveral is located where it is?

    • by Wizel603 (1367631)

      I really cannot think of a less desirable location to build this "space port".

      Mos Eisley

  • That seems completely arbitrary.

    • by rioki (1328185)

      Probably some haphazard environmental impact study. But once SpaceX has the foot in the door and a need to launch more, it probably can be arranged to higher limits. If they can lay pipelines through a Alaskan wildlife preserve, they can launch more rockets from a national park in Texas.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      That seems completely arbitrary.

      It'll put a dampener on their July the 4th celebrations - oh sorry March 2nd - it's Texas.

  • Did they bother to get Mexico's permission to operate this spaceport so close to the Mexican border?

    • Borders are binary and there are already treaties/conventions in place regarding airspace.

      For example, Spain would love to close Gebralter's airport. But the rules only let them be a huge pain in the ass.

      In other words, why should we?

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      Why would the cartels disaprove anyway? They could even abduct a few engineers to develop their own rocket delivery of drugs into the USA.
  • Seems kind of small. I would have expected a space port to be high hundreds to thousands of acres to buffer in case there was some disaster... not a measely 57 acres... A lot of high schoolers could run across it diagonally in about two minutes.

    But I don't know much about the requirements for spaceports.
    • by Megane (129182)
      Or you could look for it on a map and see that it's surrounded by mostly wildlife areas and state parks and water, not unlike a certain place in Florida. It's not like they're planning to launch from some industrial park on the edge of town.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Friday July 11, 2014 @12:42AM (#47429305) Homepage

    I vote Mos Eisley.

    After all, where else would one find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, outside of Washington that is...

  • If you're looking for astronauts just let me know.
    I might consider it.

    • by Megane (129182)
      NASA has plenty of already-trained astronauts who don't have much chance of going up, whether or not they've already gone up yet. They're getting hired by the NewSpace companies. It's not like they're looking for H1Bs to be astronauts.
  • Shall we declare a national holiday? Parades?

  • I'd think you'd want a lot more land for a spaceport. Sometimes rocket fall down, go boom.

    (For the more cosmopolitan of us, Washington Square Park is just under ten acres.)

    .

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