SpaceX submitted a detailed map with the United States Army Corps of Engineers as part of a regulatory process to expand/modify its Starship launch facility at Boca Chica Beach located in the southernmost tip of Texas. The maps include launch site modifications of the Starship ‘vertical launch area’ which will be expanded with additional of landing pads for testing and orbital launches. The map includes the integration of launch towers for Starship and its Super Heavy rocket booster, as well as associated stormwater management features and a vehicle parking lot for employees. “The proposed expansion will impact 10.94 acres of mud flats, 5.94 acres of estuarine wetlands, and 0.28 acres of non-tidal wetlands,” the U.S Army Corps Of Engineers stated. SpaceX’s proposal map is pictured below (PDF download). Besides a review from the U.S. Army Corps, the Starship launch site is also undergoing an environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
All Images Source: SpaceX document to the U.S Army Corps Of Engineers
The map shows the company plans to have two orbital launch pads, two suborbital launch pads, two landing pads, two test stands for the launch vehicle, and a large ‘tank farm’ to enable ground support equipment for orbital flights. The proposal even includes a spot to keep the ‘Starhopper’ prototype at the launch site's entrance. Starhopper was the first test vehicle to successfully launch and land in 2019.
Long-term SpaceX plans to transform its facility into a ‘21st Century Spaceport and Resort’, according to a job listing published last year that looked to hire a “Resort Development Manager” to work on the company’s first resort. “SpaceX is committed to developing revolutionary space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. Boca Chica Village is our latest launch site dedicated to Starship, our next-generation launch vehicle,” the company wrote in the job listing, “SpaceX is committed to developing this town into a 21st-century Spaceport. We are looking for a talented Resort Development Manager to oversee the development of SpaceX's first resort from inception to completion,” it said. Another job application seeking to hire a “project coordinator” to “make Boca Chica, TX an epic place to live and work,” said they plan to create a “SpaceX Village” that will feature ‘bookable rooms’ and activities, like volleyball tournaments, kayaking, and even “spaceport lounge events and parties.” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the high-bay where they assemble Starship vehicles will feature a bar at top with 360 view of the rocket factory, pictured below.
Image Source: Tesmanian.com
The company is currently getting ready to launch the next stainless-steel Starship prototype, after it successfully launched and landed the Starship SN10 prototype during a high-altitude flight test on March 3. Starship SN11 was transported to the launch pad this afternoon where it will undergo a series of preflight tests. Read more in our previous article: SpaceX Transports Starship SN11 To The Boca Chica Beach Launch Pad