Brownsville: Space Tourist Resort in the Works at SpaceX Boca Chica
Feature Photo (above): In June 2019, development at the SpaceX center at Boca Chica Village was limited to two warehouse type structures and a single pad for rocket assembly. One year later, the facility had eight major structures on site (below). Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Brownsville (Cameron County) — Numerous national news outlets have recently published reports about a possible space tourism resort that will be constructed near the SpaceX Launch Control Center at Boca Chica.
The reports from c|net, TechCrunch, the Independent and others are all based on a single source–a job posting that SpaceX published Friday for a Resort Development Manager.
The job posting states that “Boca Chica Village is our latest launch site dedicated to Starship, our next generation launch vehicle. 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.”
The person hired for this position will be responsible for managing the design, architecture and construction of the resort. Duties also include obtaining all city, county and other government approvals, and coordinating all field work while acting in the capacity of a project superintendent.
Starship is a super heavy rocket under development that is being designed to carry a crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon and Mars. It is described as the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed. The project timeline calls for the first private passenger flight around the moon to take place in 2023.
Artist rendering of a Starship passing Saturn. Image: SpaceX.
Construction activity at the Boca Chica control center has been intense, as can be seen in a comparison of images from June 2019 (above) to June 2020:
A June 2020 aerial shot of the SpaceX control center at Boca Chica Village. Courtesy: RGV Aerial Photography.
SpaceX owner Elon Musk has been trying to buy up all of the individual residential lots in Boca Chica Village. He has acquired some lots, but many residents rejected buyout offers that were made last fall. There are about 35 homes in the unincorporated community.
The SpaceX compound, according to county land records, is a patchwork of scattered undeveloped and developed single family lots combined with larger lots that have become the company base for the spacecraft development mission. In all, SpaceX has about 43 acres under its control.
The actual launch pad, however, is located east of the control center, nearer to the gulf coast. SpaceX owns 49.3 acres there and that tract extends up to the beach. The two SpaceX facilities are connected by State Highway 4 (Boca Chica Boulevard).
The properties controlled by SpaceX are shown within the yellow boundaries. However, pixelated sections indicate parcels of land are owned by other entities. Image: Google Earth.
Most of the surrounding terrain is protected wetland and is either owned by Texas Parks and Wildlife or the United States government.
The Boca Chica Spaceport would not be confined to Boca Chica Village. TechCrunch reported in June that SpaceX is hiring offshore operations engineers that would also be based at Boca Chica.. Their purpose would be to participate in development of a floating spaceport in the Gulf of Mexico.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.