SpaceX is rapidly developing the Starship launch system at Starbase, located in Brownsville’s Boca Chica Beach. The City of Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez shared a photo with SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Thursday, July 22. –“Big announcements on the horizon. On the Border, by the Sea and Beyond! 🚀#DestinationBrownsville #Teaser,” Mendez captioned the photograph in a Facebook post. He did not publicize additional details about his meeting with Musk.
The city’s slogan has always been, ‘On the border by the sea.’ Brownsville is located in the southernmost tip of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico; It neighbors Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and South Padre Island. Brownsville is filled with Hispanic heritage and culture that is part of local everyday life. SpaceX operations have brought a lot of tourism into the region ever since they started to conduct tests of the Starship spacecraft in 2019. Brownsville leaders officially changed the city’s slogan to “On The Border By The Sea – And Beyond!” this year. It is a reference to SpaceX’s mission to take humanity to the Moon and Mars from Starbase at Boca Chica village.
Starbase is destined to be a U.S. space-travel hub. Musk has ambitious plans to transform Boca Chica Beach into a ‘21st Century Spaceport’ from where humanity will blast off to colonize the Red Planet. Long-term, SpaceX operations are expected to bring an economic boost to the region which had mostly remained under the radar until the aerospace company arrived. “Regardless of what anyone thinks of SpaceX or Elon personally, the job creation and economic impact in the past 2 years has been pretty visible,” Mayor Mendez said on July 6 in a Facebook post, “[…] I believe SpaceX is now the largest private employer in the County, with over 1,400 jobs. The majority are held by locals, and more will come with the new $2 Billion+ NASA contract,” he said, in reference to a NASA contract SpaceX received to develop a lunar-optimized Starship to return astronauts to the Moon by the year 2024.
Image Source: Tesmanian.com / photographer Evelyn J. Arevalo @JaneidyEve
Musk has said on several occasions he loves the Boca Chica region. Earlier this year, he pledged to donate $20 million to Cameron County schools and $10 million to City of Brownsville for downtown revitalization. After his announcement in March, Mayor Mendez said: “It's certainly exciting to hear about Elon Musk's proposed donation to the City for downtown revitalization. We look forward to a discussion about how this could help our community prosper as we take a front seat to the next chapter of space exploration and innovation,” he wrote in a statement on March 30, “For years, the City has invested in infrastructure and improvements to capitalize on the beauty and charm of our historic downtown. The private sector has taken notice, with increased investment and several new projects coming very soon. With this potential infusion of capital from Mr. Musk, we hope to accelerate the progress even more and continue to make our city and our downtown a destination," Mendez stated.
The Musk Foundation has already distributed a portion of the funds to multiple local schools and organizations since. Including, the Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) which provides free public education to students from kindergarten to high school, it received a $2 million donation. They also donated $459,000 to IDEA Public Schools and $120,000 to the Port Isabel School District. Most recently, the Musk foundation donated $2 million to the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) to initiate Brownsville’s downtown revitalization efforts through the Business Improvement & Growth (BIG) Program. It is likely that Mayor Mendez and Mr. Musk discussed additional plans to improve the City of Brownsville during their recent meeting.
Image Source: Tesmanian.com / photographer Evelyn J. Arevalo
Author’s note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! I look forward to bringing you more local SpaceX Starship development news from Texas this year. Find me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve.
Featured Image Source: City of Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez via Facebook
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.