SpaceX has a Starbase Sea Turtle Patrol rescue team at Boca Chica Beach

SpaceX has a Starbase Sea Turtle Patrol rescue team at Boca Chica Beach

Featured Images Source: @SpacePadreIsle / @FelixSchlang / and @_Shyamal_Patel via Twitter.

SpaceX is developing Starship at the Starbase facility located in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville, Texas. It neighbors a public beach access and a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge. The company works closely with local animal conservation organizations to ensure safety of all wildlife near the Starship factory and launch pad area. SpaceX has a sea turtle patrol rescue team at Starbase. Employees do everything they can to ensure their spaceflight activities have minimal interference with local wildlife.

SpaceX’s Starbase Sr. Director of Operations Sam Patel often volunteers to patrol the area to see if any turtle needs help. In June, a resident captured a video of Mr. Patel rescuing a stranded sea turtle at Boca Chica aboard an amphibious vehicle (video clip is linked below). SpaceX works alongside Sea Turtles, Inc. (STI), a sea animal conservation organization located at South Padre Island. The stranded turtle was found stuck at the jetties and was transported to the Sea Turtle, Inc. facility where turtles go through rehabilitation then are released back into the wild. There's only seven species of sea turtles in the world and the Boca Chica Beach/South Padre Island region is home to five species: green, loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback, and Kemp’s ridley.


Most recently, Mr. Patel shared another one was rescued –"Successful Sea Turtle Patrol today, seems like my wife has the better eye. She found an injured turtle and named it Polar after the Polaris Program. Following a quick ride across the channel, this stranded turtle has made it to the hospital. See Polar recover [at] Sea Turtle, Inc.," wrote Patel via Twitter on October 8th. The Polaris Program manages SpaceX's first astronauts that will perform a spacewalk wearing new extravehicular activity spacesuits; they will also test other technologies aboard a pair of Dragon missions and Starship's first crewed spaceflight. Read more: Jared Isaacman Funds Polaris Program To Test New SpaceX Technologies Aboard Dragon Missions & Starship’s First Crewed Spaceflight

Local residents have also seen a four-wheeler with a decorative turtle that features a SpaceX "X" logo on its back that is used by the company to find and monitor sea turtle nests along the beach, pictured below. According to a U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service document, one of SpaceX's requirements is to inspect the areas near the launch pad during sea turtle nesting season from March 15 to October 1st between 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m CDT. It is likely the company has sea turtle patrol operations year-round. SpaceX employees have previously volunteered during winter to rescue cold-stunned sea turtles in the Boca Chica/South Padre Island region. Read more: SpaceX Provides Power Generator to Save Cold-stunned Sea Turtles in South Texas.


Featured Images Source (left to right): @SpacePadreIsle / @FelixSchlang / and @_Shyamal_Patel via Twitter.

Thanks for reading TESMANIAN! Find the Author on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve 

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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