BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Texas Governor’s Office PR) — Gov. Rick Perry on Monday helped break ground on the SpaceX Commercial Launch Facility located near Boca Chica Beach, which will launch commercial satellites into orbit.
“This announcement represents a huge step forward for our state and continues our nation’s proud legacy of scientific advancement,” Gov. Perry said. “It builds upon our pioneer heritage, our tradition of thinking bigger, dreaming bolder, and daring to do the impossible. SpaceX is the latest in a long line of forward-thinking companies that have made Texas home, and I couldn’t be prouder to help break ground on this revolutionary new facility.”
Today’s groundbreaking is the result of years of cooperation between Texas and SpaceX. The idea for a commercial spaceport in Texas was first discussed on a TexasOne trip to California in 2011. Since then, Gov. Perry has met with SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk and written letters to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help secure clearance for the facility. Also, several members of the Governor’s staff have appeared in front of the FAA to help bring the facility to Texas.
The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) was instrumental in bringing SpaceX to Texas, with a $2.3 million grant in August that will bring 300 jobs and create $85 million in capital investment in South Texas. The State of Texas is also offering $13 million from the Spaceport Trust Fund to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. The Spaceport Trust Fund was established to help develop the infrastructure necessary for developing a spaceport.
“We appreciate the leadership of Governor Rick Perry and numerous other federal, state and local leaders who have helped make it possible for SpaceX to build the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions,” said Elon Musk, CEO & Chief Designer, SpaceX. “With today’s groundbreaking at Boca Chica, we will begin an investment in South Texas that will create hundreds of jobs and over time contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.”
Gov. Perry also announced a Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) grant to The University of Texas at Brownsville for $4.4 million that will be matched by the University of Texas System for $4.6 million. The TETF grant will go toward the construction of the STARGATE complex, which will use TETF funds to test and commercialize a new phased-array antenna system that will replace fixed satellite-dish tracking communication systems. The STARGATE complex will co-locate the STARGATE laboratories and the SpaceX launch command-and-control center, and will provide opportunities for continuing education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields.