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SpaceX Chooses Texas Site For Private Spaceport

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the to-the-moon dept.

Space 113

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes Today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has chosen a site at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, as the location where SpaceX will build its rocket launch facility. The Boca Chica site, at the southern tip of Texas near Brownsville and South Padre Island, had been competing with sites in Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico, but had been named the frontrunner to land the site by Musk when he testified to the Texas state legislature in 2013. The spaceport will be the first privately-owned vertical rocket launch facility in the world, and will target commercial customers. State and local governments have pledged to provide a total of about $20 million in incentives to attract SpaceX to the site.

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Fappity fap! (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47604277)

2nd Elon Musk post in a single day!? I can hardly contain myself!

Re:Fappity fap! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47604285)

I'm waiting for a 3rd one about full-body armoured combat suits.

Wonder how many tax breaks Perry gave him? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604281)

Capitalism at work! Get a Conservative in the White House and we'll put this country back to work!

Re:Wonder how many tax breaks Perry gave him? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604319)

Yeah! Just half a century after the big bad government paid for all the fundamental research and put probes out of the Solar System!

Good for you! Good boy!

Re:Wonder how many tax breaks Perry gave him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604365)

The mission of those probes wasn't to leave the solar system. That's like claiming that your local fire depart does a piss poor job of filling in pot holes.

Re:Wonder how many tax breaks Perry gave him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604571)

Yeah! Just half a century after the big bad government paid for all the fundamental research and put probes out of the Solar System!

Good for you! Good boy!

Yeah! Just half a century after the working taxpayers paid for all the fundamental research and put probes out of the Solar System!

Good for you! Good LGBT!

TFTFY

Re:Wonder how many tax breaks Perry gave him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605551)

You're welcome to "Call me Dave" any time you want.

Port facilities + cheap land (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604289)

Says it all.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47604307)

And about as close to the Equator as he could get in the Continental US.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604321)

Easy access to cheap Mexican labor sure doesn't hurt. They won't be programming the computers, but they'll be cleaning and feeding the staff.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604329)

Yeah, but just think - REAL illegal aliens.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604371)

Remember the last illegal alien? Yeah, that was Superman. That sure worked out ok.

you forgot about Dre (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 months ago | (#47606121)

Kids theses days. Don't even remember Gordon Shumway.
Or Mork or Scott Hayden for that matter.

Not saying that's necessarily a bad thing.

Re:you forgot about Dre (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47607501)

Or Uncle Martin.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606875)

You would run into some ITAR problems if you seriously tried to hire illegal foreign nationals to work in or near a rocket launch facility. Even legal ones... Anyway, Musk doesn't seem to have the severe phobia of paying fair wages that so many of the 1% have.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (2, Informative)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47604387)

the most southernmost point in US is on the big island of hawaii.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604475)

Hawaii, last I checked, was not part of the Continental US.

Or did some really big volcano blow up?

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604551)

nah, the huge island of plastic trash got wedged between california & hawaii. you can now walk to hawaii.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604575)

Yea, don't think that is going to work out: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/... [hawaiireporter.com]

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605341)

...and a total pain in the ass for shipping and receiving.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 months ago | (#47605855)

build cargo rockets that splash down in the sea. Even the N. Koreans can build rockets that splashdown in the sea.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47605973)

Which, presumably, is why OP mentioned CONTINENTAL United States.

Note also that "most southernmost" is redundant. You don't want to be referred to the Department of Redundancy Department, do you?

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606863)

Which, presumably, is why OP mentioned CONTINENTAL United States.

Note also that "most southernmost" is redundant. You don't want to be referred to the Department of Redundancy Department, do you?

Nah, he's already been referred to them.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47606951)

It's not redundant. Ggp claimed Texas is the southernmost. Well, Hawaii is more southernmost than Texas. Also, geospeaking, they are the same continent.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 months ago | (#47608039)

"most southernmost" was the redundancy being referenced. It shouldn't need an explanation as to why it's redundant.

No, they are not on the same continent, geologically speaking. Perhaps you should brush up on where the tectonic plate boundaries are. Big hint: there's one running down the West Coast, which is between Texas and Hawaii. It was already pointed out that "continental" was a key word, which you have now ignored twice in order to claim your statement wasn't completely incorrect.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47608497)

whatever. key facts: 1) hawaii is really far south 2) hawaii is part of the united states 3) hawaii has extensive access to sealanes 4) hawaii has a large population of people in the military 5) buzz aldrin landed in hawaii from the moon.

so it has all the connections to america, space, and cargo that you could want. nuff said?

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604389)

And about as close to the Equator as he could get in the Continental US.

Wrong. Key Largo, Florida is more than 54 minutes south of Boca Chica, Texas. (25 degrees, 5 minutes, 11 seconds north versus 25 degrees, 59 minutes, 49 seconds north).

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47607571)

Wrong. Key Largo, Florida is more than 54 minutes south of Boca Chica, Texas

Key Largo is farther south, but I don't think it was ever an option. So Boca Chica is as far south as he can get.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604401)

Which begs the question, why not Mexico? I'm just fucking with you.

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 months ago | (#47605861)

Racism

Re:Port facilities + cheap land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606917)

Then they would no longer be a US company and would not be eligible for nasa and air force launches.

Homestead, FL is further south. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604495)

But being south of Miami, it's not exactly cheap nor will we allow rockets blasting off - even Musk doesn't have enough money to push us around.

Destination Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606455)

And you can get some idea about their thinking about their long-term destination from the name they're giving the real-estate divisions at the site: Mars Crossing
http://www.valleymorningstar.c... [valleymorningstar.com]

Considering the number of guns... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604373)

in Texas, this is a terrible idea.

And minimum regulations ... (2, Insightful)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47604377)

... as well. [wikipedia.org]

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 3 months ago | (#47604555)

Fertilizer is a lot cheaper to replace than bespoke Satellites that can't be repaired and are expected to survive for a minimum of 15 years. Fertilizer lasts for 8 weeks and can be manufactured by any farm.
 
You're literally comparing bleeding edge space technology to shit.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47604631)

You're literally comparing bleeding edge space technology to shit.

No, he's comapring bleeding edge technology to Texas.

Oh......wait...

Re:And minimum regulations ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605803)

At least they don't throw your ass in jail for speeding. [jalopnik.com]

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 months ago | (#47605863)

Fertilizer will feed you. Rockets won't. We have all these plans for space colonies, all of which rely on some sort of manure to feed the colonist. Funny, isn't it.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47606129)

"On April 22, 2014, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board released the preliminary results of its investigation into the explosion. It blamed the disaster on company officials' failure to take basic steps regarding safe storage of the chemicals in its stockpile, as well as inadequate federal, state and local regulations regarding the handling of hazardous materials." (Emphasis by me.) [wikipedia.org]

Re:And minimum regulations ... (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47604975)

$20M isn't all that much when you're talking about the costs of building a space center. The savings from not having to jump through neverending bureaucratic hoops probably far exceeds $20M.

And not just monetary savings, but the cost of delays, probably more significantly.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47606051)

He's just making the government pay for the costs of environmental studies and other paperwork they ladel on businesses to begin with.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (2)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47606203)

Perry made up, out of whole cloth, a supposed preference among Texans for freedom from regulation over being safe from industrial explosions and other disasters. ”Through their elected officials [people] clearly send the message of their comfort with the amount of oversight,” he told the AP.

In Texas, we don't need no steenkin regulations [dallasnews.com] .

I'm not anti-Texas, and I think Perry is a wing nut, but businesses love low regulations. It's cheaper to operate, especially when it's a risky, volatile, venture like fertilizers and rockets and stuff.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 3 months ago | (#47606133)

Did you read the article? OSHA and the EPA are federal organizations

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47606291)

OSHA and EPA gotta know about it, first, right?

Despite West explosion, Rick Perry sticks to his anti-regulatory schtick. [dallasnews.com]

Spending state money on inspections and regulatory oversight would not have prevented the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant, [Perry] he added. Never mind that the company had stored 540,000 pounds of highly explosive ammonium nitrate on the site without informing residents of the extreme danger and without informing the Department of Homeland Security — as required.

Re:And minimum regulations ... (1)

dlt074 (548126) | about 3 months ago | (#47607847)

the failure of existing regulatory agencies, should not be a call for more regulatory agencies. it should be a call to defund the current ones that are failing at their appointed tasks.

How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch be (3, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 3 months ago | (#47604415)

For a while i suspected he would choose Puerto Rico for the extra benefit of being a little closer to the equator. How much of a difference in the cost of launching exist between these two locations?

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47604567)

For a while i suspected he would choose Puerto Rico for the extra benefit of being a little closer to the equator. How much of a difference in the cost of launching exist between these two locations?

The big problem with Puerto Rico is the lack of industrial infrastructure. Nearly every part will need to travel by ship or air freight. The Texas site is five hours by truck from Houston, the fourth largest city in America.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (1)

Megane (129182) | about 3 months ago | (#47605907)

And not much farther by truck from McGregor (near Waco), where they already have a cozy little shack.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606535)

Not to mention lots of rail infrastructure nearby too. I'm looking forward to this if it goes in - close enough to me that I might go take a trip down there to see some launches when it's setup!

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#47604651)

Not too much - it's one of those exponential curves that's shallow near the equator but steep near the poles.

Escape velocity is 11,186m/s. The ISS is at 7,650m/s. Keep those numbers in mind for a sense of scale..

At the equator, you get an extra 465m/s of velocity. At the poles, you get zero.

Boca Chica Village is at 25N. If I did my trig right, you'll get 420m/s of "free" velocity from a launch there.

For more comparison, Canaveral (28N) gets 410m/s, Wallops (38N) gets 365m/s, and Baikonur (46N) gets 320m/s of boost.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is at 18N, which would get you 440m/s. A 20m/s difference, at the cost of shipping your rockets and payloads across the ocean, and building substantially more infrastructure. The economics does not support building a spaceport there.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47604955)

and building substantially more infrastructure. The economics does not support building a spaceport there.

And that's even before you figure in the administrative costs of dealing with all the corruption.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605011)

Puerto Rico may have corruption but you won't notice it unless you work bidding for goverment contracts. Ill tell you what you will find on a project like this and similar.
Bureocracy unless you can wave a fat stack of cash in front of the goverment and sell them your idea it will be a bureocratic nightmare.
If i would made a flowchart of all the permissions a regular company (hint not billions of cash) would require to make a project like this or similar it would take around 5 years to start construction.

Corruption can be found in goverment contracts being given to school friends of elected official (on task they are not even qualified to perform).

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 3 months ago | (#47605997)

The big deal isn't the amount of extra orbital velocity you get from the equator, it's the inclination of the resultant orbit - inclination changes *really* cut into your delta-V budget, so if you're launching into an uninclined orbit you really want to be doing it from the equator coz otherwise you have to expend a lot of fuel correcting your inclination.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 months ago | (#47606429)

The big deal isn't the amount of extra orbital velocity you get from the equator, it's the inclination of the resultant orbit - inclination changes *really* cut into your delta-V budget, so if you're launching into an uninclined orbit you really want to be doing it from the equator coz otherwise you have to expend a lot of fuel correcting your inclination.

Partly true-- but orbital inclination changes get easier the higher you go. It's hard to launch into low equatorial orbit from high latitudes... but nobody goes to low equatorial orbit. The higher it is, the more impulse you're putting into simply getting altitude, and the less impulse is needed for plane change.

If you're launching from the surface, the delta-V for the plane change to get an geosynchronous orbit into the equatorial plane is remarkably small.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606891)

Not too much - it's one of those exponential curves that's shallow near the equator but steep near the poles.

Sinusoidal, to be pedantic.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 months ago | (#47608075)

Damn, and I'm all out of Sudafed.

Re:How much cheaper would a a puerto rico launch b (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 months ago | (#47604715)

The modest benefit of being slightly closer to the equator is far outweighed by the additional logistics cost and complexity.

They may want to rethink that "target".... (0)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 3 months ago | (#47604421)

From TFA:

The spaceport will be the first privately-owned vertical rocket launch facility in the world, and will target commercial customers

I dunno, but with all of those guns in Texas the word target would make me nervous. They might just think its a big ol' coot shoot...

Curious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604425)

1) can't launch to polar orbit.

2) "State and local governments have pledged to provide a total of about $20 million in incentives to attract SpaceX to the site."
"incentives" !

If the pledges fall through will Musk pull out ?

If "derivatives" of the "$20 million in incentives" [i.e. cash, cocaine, and prostitutes] fail to reach the "State and local government's" "tools" will the "States and local governments" pull out ?

Not a done deal I would say.

Re: Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604485)

$20 million is peanuts. What is really going on ?

Polar [Re:Curious] (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 months ago | (#47606687)

1) can't launch to polar orbit.

They have the pad at SLC-4 at Vandenberg to launch to polar orbits.
http://www.space.com/23023-spa... [space.com]
And there's not much in the way of large commercial satellites in polar orbit anyway-- it's the GEO comsat market they're after with this launch site, I think.

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47607591)

If "derivatives" of the "$20 million in incentives" [i.e. cash, cocaine, and prostitutes] fail to reach the "State and local government's" "tools" will the "States and local governments" pull out ?

Arguably, if the cash, cocaine, and prostitutes fail to reach those parties, they would have never had a chance to push in.

Lucky Texas? (-1, Offtopic)

J.R.C.L. (3739333) | about 3 months ago | (#47604535)

Will the people of Texas welcome this? http://bit.ly/1qOrXX0 [bit.ly]

Re:Lucky Texas? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 3 months ago | (#47604773)

^ I'm going to save everyone the trouble of clicking that and just let you know ahead of time that it's SPAM.

South Padre Is. = no launches during Spring Break? (1)

tech-law-ny (946400) | about 3 months ago | (#47604581)

Wikipedia says "With only a few thousand residents, South Padre Island has consistently drawn between 80,000 and 120,000 spring breakers." Is it likely that a Range Safety Officer will recommend against launches during all of the common Spring Break weeks?

South Padre Is. = no launches during Spring Break? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47604669)

SPI is north of the launch site and will probably be immune from any potential hazards of a launch. Boca Chica beach however is east of the launch site and will be closed for the day up to and for a while after every launch.

Why the "incentives"? (2)

l2718 (514756) | about 3 months ago | (#47604937)

These $20M are good for SpaceX, but why are they good to the taxpayers of Texas? This feels like the "incentives" provided to sports teams where somehow the projected benefits to other local businesses never materialize.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (3, Insightful)

Calinous (985536) | about 3 months ago | (#47605257)

Over the long term, they hope that the company will pay more than 20 millions back in taxes. And they'll also add local jobs (probably by the hundreds), attract (or supply) highly paid workers, maybe improve tourism in the area and so on.
      They hope that, long term, it will be better for them than if Tesla built the spaceport in a different state.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47606003)

Just so.

Assume 300 new jobs, paying an average of $50K per annum each. Sales tax + income tax on that will be somewhere north of $1M per year (guesstimating sales tax and income tax based on LA's tax rates - too lazy to look up TX's numbers this AM).

And that's ignoring other taxes that might apply, tourism dollars (hell, *I* might go there once it's operational), etc.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about 3 months ago | (#47606421)

And unlike a sports stadium, this is for a business that actually *makes* things and regularly employs large numbers of people. It's not just going to be a bunch of tourists and rocket fans rushing in for launch for a few hours, buying food and rocket hats from the launch facility, then going home.

First off they're going to be needing a permanent staff for operations, including locals for things like maintenance, cleaning, phone services, construction, and similar jobs that don't make sense to bring a specific person for (the actual operations people will likely not be locals, unless Boca Chica has an unusually high population of world-class physicists and engineers). All those people will now need places to buy food and clothing regularly. They'll need houses or apartments and the associated services and utilities since they will be permanent residents of the area, unlike the visitors to a stadium. They'll want restaurants, entertainment, shopping centers, bars, and so on.

Then there's the side expansion involved in something with an business like this moving in. If this becomes the primary commercial spaceport, then you'll probably see businesses dedicated to building satellites and similar stuff spring up nearby. SpaceX and other companies looking to launch will likely consider creating a sizable assembly area, to cut down on the risky and expensive shipping of giant-ass rockets. There will also likely be call for purely commercial offices to be set up for the companies contracting with SpaceX, to represent their companies locally and maintain their own operations related to their corporate satellites.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606957)

This is all great, but what about the expansion into the park land that borders it, evidently on three sides? I'm all for the economic impact, but it's the expansion and subsequent environmental impact that worries me.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47606829)

i'm sure they are hoping to make TX a hub for the private space industry once the workers and infrastructure is in place. it's not just about this one deal.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

macromorgan (2020426) | about 3 months ago | (#47606861)

Texas's income tax rate is 0. Their sales tax rate however is 6.25 to the state and up to 2 percent more for the city and county (just about everywhere in the state charges around 8.25 percent).

Re:Why the "incentives"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47607693)

Since I'm moving there, I'll point out that the lack of an income tax is made up for by a huge property tax. That's reflected in higher rents or taxation for homeowners. The sales tax is relatively close to other states in the south. They all get their money somehow.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 months ago | (#47606525)

A spaceport is a long-term big business that will attract all sorts of revenue and jobs. Probably for 50 years or more. They are also not the sort of thing you can fold up overnight and move to Mexico. Texas will get their investment back.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

Calinous (985536) | about 3 months ago | (#47606815)

Nokia closed a factory in Germany to move it to Romania, and then closed it in Romania (maybe to move it somewhere else). They're now closing factories in Hungary and Turkey (I think), the one in Germany and Romania after about five years of operations.
      So yes, factories can move. Some of them even before their preferential status expire.

Re:Why the "incentives"? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 months ago | (#47608107)

A spaceport isn't a factory, and there are huge hurdles to building one. The analogy to factories doesn't really apply.

and the regs that keep tesla from selling in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605025)

will melt ....

Re:and the regs that keep tesla from selling in Te (1)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | about 3 months ago | (#47605585)

Yeah, that's what I was wondering. Is this some dealmaking? I'm sure we will never know, but it seems to make sense.

Isn't There A Private One Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605381)

Couple dozen miles outside of Van Horn Texas?

Why bother? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 3 months ago | (#47605543)

If I'm not mistaken, this is the third place SpaceX is going to be building lots of infrastructure at. What advantage could this site possibly have over Cape Canaveral?

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605609)

A few reasons:
You are not sharing range support with other launch providers.
Also weather can be an issue for FL in the summertime.
Pad turnaround is about 21 days so you are limited in the number of launches from one site.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47605677)

AYAP

Re:Why bother? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 3 months ago | (#47607403)

Also weather can be an issue for FL in the summertime.

good reminder of difficulties scheduling launch from FL. The old joke goes what's the different between 20% chance of showers and 80% chance of showers in Florida? Answer is none. I always wondered when claims of several launches per week we've heard through out the years of various launch vehicles (beginning with Shuttle planning in early 1970s of hundreds of flights per year). Then there is limited windows, i.e. if you don't get your Delta launched by such-and-such a date, it will have to be scrubbed until next month because USAF needs to launch an Atlas because Range Safety can only deal with limited number of launches.

Then there is Baikonur Cosmodrome. They can set a launch date for a Soyuz about two years in advance and will be able to launch on that date with exception of technical problems because there is no "weather" (either really hot or really cold but no rain, no clouds, nothing). But there is issues of high inclination and dealing with a certain leader with Tsar ambitions.

Re:Why bother? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#47605745)

Access to cheap construction labor?

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606221)

I can't wait for the illegals to start hitting all the northern states so that you sanctimonious bastards can finally shut the fuck up.

If it was up to me, we bus them from Texas to Maine

Re:Why bother? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#47606371)

I can't wait for the illegals to start hitting all the northern states

They are here. They work their asses off for low wages and don't cause much trouble (compared to rednecks).

Re:Why bother? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 months ago | (#47608127)

They're here in Washington for the US apple crop, among other harvests, so you must mean Canada. Canada isn't technically a US state, so I think your knowledge of places other than where you live is a bit off.

Re:Why bother? (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47605787)

What advantage could this site possibly have over Cape Canaveral?

1) don't have to worry about launch schedule conflicts when you're the only people launching at the site. Do remember the number of delays that SpaceX (and everyone else) has to deal with at Canaveral - you have a minor glitch, scrub your scheduled launch, spend two days fixing if, then have to wait weeks to launch again because someone else is launching in the meantime.

2) Much lower probability of the government deciding it needs your launch site for its own launches and putting you out of business...

Re:Why bother? (2)

Megane (129182) | about 3 months ago | (#47605927)

3) Better weather: less rainy days, less tropical storms. That's the other major cause of delays at Canaveral.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 3 months ago | (#47605937)

What advantage could this site possibly have over Cape Canaveral?

Let's not forget that SpaceX intends to reuse their first stage. While the Falcon 9 is being built to be able to return to its own launch pad, the fuel reserve necessarily reduces payload capacity. Launching from south Texas allows for an alternative. Instead of returning to its own pad, the first stage could land at Canaveral. This has been the general idea for some time now. It recovers some of the lost payload capacity by allowing an easier landing. Being at nearly the same latitude makes the process that much easier.

The downside is still being vulnerable to the vagaries of scheduling at Canaveral. One supposes it's worth the hassle to avoid building yet another booster and nine more engines.

Re:Why bother? (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 months ago | (#47607721)

Florida is a good thousand miles away from the Texas launch facility. It would take more fuel to continue downrange and land in Florida than it would to turn back and land in Texas. Florida might be a good landing site for a recoverable Falcon Heavy center stage, but they're likely only around 100mi down range by first stage cutoff.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 3 months ago | (#47607615)

Cape Canaveral has lots of delays due to millitary launches (Which always have precedence) and perhaps more importantly, thunderstorms 6/7 afternoons a week. You can't launch in a thunderstorm.
 
Thunderstorms exist in Texas, but in Brownsville, are rare in comparison to Florida. Having absolute control over the launch facility and launch schedule is Very Important.

Vertical launch? (1)

roger_that (24034) | about 3 months ago | (#47605625)

I want to see the Horizontal launch facilities. :)

Re:Vertical launch? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 3 months ago | (#47605757)

I want to see the Horizontal launch facilities. :)

It's called an airport. Scaled Composites has successfully launched suborbital spacecraft from one.

Re:Vertical launch? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#47606059)

For that you go to Spaceport America [spaceportamerica.com] .

Really? Anti-Science Rick? Wow color me amazed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606249)

Why am I amazed at this? Anti-Science Rick going all in for Space Port? Shocking. Must be the money talking or maybe Elon promised a free ride to Flat Earth Rick?

Fuck Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606583)

I'm either petty or morally consistent but, until Tesla can sell cars in Texas I wouldn't touch it with a 15 meter rocket.

http://www.teslamotors.com/advocacy_texas

Landing their boosters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47606807)

With regards to the flyout path and where and how to land the boosters:

The ocean is pretty neat in that you can put a barge or oil platform where you need it.
    Waves won't give you a stable thing to approach, but perhaps really big a 6DOF table on the barge will.

This might permit flying the tail into a stablized ring with holding clamps to grab the launch hold down hard points.
  The hard points would now do double duty so there may be a better compromise design for how they work.
  The ring doesn't have to be stable, but can cooperate with the vehicle guidance to get the clamps in the best position to operate.

This seems something better attempted first on land with a small vehicle.
    (Even though the experiments with real vehicles are free except for the lost payload due to extra fuel.)

Looking forward to seeing this economically fundamental infrastructure actually work.

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