Deep South Texas is poised to become the nation's leader in space technology, thanks to a planned expansion by the mega-hyped private spaceflight company, Space-X, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
"To think that rockets, even possibly a rocket ship to mars could be launched a few miles from my home, it's surreal," Texas State Representative René Oliveira says.
For years, the company run by billionaire Elon Musk has been preparing a launch pad on Boca Chica beach, near Brownsville. Now, company representatives are telling Rep. Oliveira that they plan to add a landing pad and a facility to fix the rockets.
"We're excited about the economic opportunity for the area, which has had a tough time in the past," he explains.
The news has kick started a round of development, he says, with some businesses out on Padre island now planning on setting up viewing decks. Schools have started space science programs as a way to tie into what is perhaps the coolest company in the world. Billionaire Elon Musk has built a brand that is attractive to both investors and a younger generation that did not grow up with excitement around the space program.
Last legislative session, state lawmakers, led by Rep. Oliveira, added $5 million to the Spaceport Trust Fund. SpaceX could make investments and then be reimbursed for their costs as part of the newly planned expansion.
Musk has been quoted as saying the next launch could be next year in Texas. Rep. Oliveira can’t wait.
"Once we have that first launch, it's all going to come together in a very beautiful way."
IMAGE COURTESY: SPACE X