At the southern tip of Texas, SpaceX is preparing to begin testing their interplanetary spacecraft. The first Starship test vehicle, dubbed Starhopper, is in advanced stages of construction, and SpaceX facilities at Boca Chica and McGregor are preparing to support a flight test program beginning this year.
The new South Texas Launch Site was originally intended to be a third launch facility for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy vehicles, in addition to Cape Canaveral, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
While current plans now focus on the Starship and Super Heavy vehicles, the layout of the launch site appears to be largely unchanged. A building permit reading “operational hopper pad for rocket launches” is posted at the location of the originally proposed launch pad.
Diagram of the proposed SpaceX vertical launch facility in South Texas, from an environmental impact assessment in 2013 – via Federal Aviation Administration
After years of minimal changes to the Boca Chica landscape, with SpaceX’s workforce focusing on the Falcon Heavy and Commercial Crew programs, a significant workforce has arrived to begin preparations for Starship. Construction crews have flattened a hill into a causeway, with a ramp at the east end for the pad ...