Musk Plans Starlink Manufacturing Plant in Austin, “Starbase” City at Boca Chica

Planet SkySat deployed during SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission using Exolaunch’s CarboNix deployer. (Credit: SpaceX website)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant to produce dishes, Wi-Fi routers and related devices for the Starlink satellite broadband network in Austin, Texas, and establish the “city of Starbase” at Boca Chica, Texas.

“Specifically, they will design and develop control systems and software for production line machinery – ultimately tackling the toughest mechanical, software, and electrical challenges that come with high volume manufacturing, all while maintaining a focus on flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use,” said a job posting for the position of automation and controls engineer.


SpaceX Tells Boca Chica Residents: Sell Now or Else!

Elon Musk (center) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry break ground on a new launch complex. (Credit: Texas Governor’s Office)

Vice reports that SpaceX gave a Friday deadline for two Boca Chica Village homeowners to sell their homes or Elon Musk’s launch provider would pursue “alternate approaches” to get them to vacate the settlement near the company’s south Texas spaceport.


SpaceX Looks to Build a Resort at Boca Chica


Having driven out most residents of Boca Chica Village, SpaceX is now looking to develop a resort adjacent to its Starship launch and test facility in Texas.

“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 advertisement said. 

The announcement is below.


Boca Chica Homeowners Scoff at SpaceX’s Low-ball Offers

Starhopper aborts a hop attempt at Boca Chica. (Credit: SpaceX webcast screen shot)

The Valley Star reports that SpaceX’s offer to buy out a group of homeowners near its Texas test site at Boca Chica Beach is not going over very well with everyone.

Although the Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company, in a letter dated Sept. 12 and sent via FedEx, is offering the Heatons three times the appraised value of their home, they say the offer isn’t close to what they’d need to sell. The appraisal conducted by SpaceX is several thousand dollars less than an appraisal the Heatons got through their bank five years ago, Terry said.

“I sent them an email the day after we got this letter, not being sarcastic or anything else,” he said. “I just told them the facts, that (their) appraisal is extremely low.”

SpaceX said the offers are not negotiable and gave the homeowners two weeks from the date of the letter to respond.

“It’s just big money bullying little people,” Terry said. “That’s really what it is.”

SpaceX Aborts 150-meter Starhopper Flight

The clocked ticked down to zero, but when it came to go, SpaceX’s Starhopper vehicle failed to lift off from its launch pad at Boca Chica Beach in Texas.

After the last-second abort, Elon Musk’s rocket company scrubbed plans to fly the Raptor engine equipped vehicle to 150 meters (492 ft). SpaceX said it could try again as early as Tuesday.

It would have been the second flight test for Starhopper. The vehicle flew to about 20 meters altitude on July 25.

Starhopper is a test vehicle to develop technologies for SpaceX’s planned SuperHeavy Starship — a fully-reusable rocket and spacecraft system designed for human trips to the moon and Mars.

A second Starhopper is being built in Florida for testing there.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave permission for a flight to only 150 meters (492 ft) instead of the 200 meters (656 ft) that SpaceX requested. It also raised the liability insurance requirement for the flight from $30 million to $100 million.

Residents of nearby Boca Chica Village have been told to stay outside during the test in case an “over pressure event” (i.e., explosion) breaks windows in their homes.

One Advantage of Having SpaceX as a Neighbor: Paved Roads

Location (in red) of SpaceX's proposed commercial spaceport. (Credit: Environment Texas)
Location (in red) of SpaceX’s proposed commercial spaceport. (Credit: Environment Texas)

Cameron County, Texas is making some much needed road improvements in and around Boca Chica Village, which lies close to where SpaceX is building its launch complex.

The county said it’s in anticipation of heavy traffic to come this fall, when construction is expected to begin for the SpaceX launch site.

Homeowners said the roadwork is long needed. CHANNEL 5 NEWS found out less than ten families live along these streets.

Dana Hollinger and her family moved to Boca Chica Village six years ago. They love the nature and privacy. They learned to deal with the remote downfalls. “If I had to call the village anything, it would be The Forgotten,” she said. “Almost all the roads out here were desperate need of repair.”

Six streets in the area were repaved, one was reconstructed. Cameron County Administrator David Garcia said they do have a priority list for all county roads. Boca Chica Village streets were placed on that list this year. But they moved to the top, when the roadwork on other projects was stalled.