The state of Texas is offering $2.3 million to SpaceX, a commercial spaceflight company with plans to build a spaceport along the Gulf Coast.
The plan to build a rocket-launch facility in South Texas has been years in the making, and while there are still a few finishing touches to put on the plan, it looks like everyone is on board.
SpaceX is the first private company to attach a spacecraft to the International Space Station, exchange cargo payloads, and return to Earth. It’s also the only private company to bring a spacecraft back from low-Earth orbit.
In addition to the $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, the state is also offering $13 million to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corporation to help build the infrastructure for establishing a spaceport.
State Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville worked with the Governor’s Office on getting the money allocated. He says he’s looking forward to the economic boost for the Rio Grande Valley.
“The proposed 56.5-acre launch site could launch up to 12 rockets a year starting in 2015, so it’s right around the corner.”
Sen. Lucio says there’s been talk about SpaceX teaming up with the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
“The UT System has considered partnering with SpaceX to develop a multi-purpose research facility to develop cutting edge radio frequency technologies which would have both scientific and commercial applications.”
Senator Lucio says he hopes the launch site will encourage more South Texas kids to pursue careers in science and engineering.
The company is not new to Texas. It has operated a rocket development facility near the Central Texas city of MacGregor since 2003, creating more than 250 jobs.
The spaceport outside Brownsville would create about 300 jobs. Founder Elon Musk says, “SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions."