UT at Brownsville Gets $10 Million for Space Commercialization Efforts

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

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Gov. Rick Perry has announced a combined investment of $9 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and The University of Texas System to create a powerful research and technology commercialization partnership that will create limitless possibilities for South Texas.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has also announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $1.2 million to the University of Texas at Brownsville. The EDA investment will help build a high-tech business incubation facility that will spur new business development associated with the region’s growing space industry cluster, according to the grantee.

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It’s Official: SpaceX Building Launch Site in Texas

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.
Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas (Rick Perry PR) — Gov. Rick Perry has announced the state is offering $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to bring SpaceX’s commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County.

Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy.

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Perry Signs Beach Closing Bill for Proposed SpaceX Spaceport

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.
Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a new law that will allow officials to temporarily close Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville for launches of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets.

The California-based company is considering constructing a seaside commercial launch complex near the Mexican border. SpaceX also is looking at locations in Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico.

The Texas site is currently considered to be the frontrunner in the competition, with the Federal Aviation Administration having already completed a positive environmental impact statement on the proposed location.

Under the law, the beach could not be closed on holidays or summer weekends. SpaceX has said it expects to launch about 12 times per year.

Potential SpaceX Launch Site in Texas Competes with Other Priorities as Florida Moves Forward

Gov. Rick Perry. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)
Gov. Rick Perry. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry prides himself on running a state government that is lean, with light regulations and low taxes to attract employers. This business friendly approach appears to be complicating efforts to put together a financial package that will convince SpaceX to locate a commercial launch facility near Brownsville.

An underfunded education system and health care reform are just a sample of the issues facing lawmakers in the upcoming session. With the University of Texas Board of Regents also pushing to accelerate creation of a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley, the proposed space venture will not even be the biggest local economic development cause.

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Texas Space Alliance Brings Together Governor, Commercial Space Companies

AUSTIN, TX, JULY 18, 2012 (TXA PR) – The Texas Space Alliance (TXA) and the office of the Speaker of the House are pleased to announce the meeting in Austin between Governor Rick Perry and numerous representatives of the nation’s top new commercial space firms. The TXA team brought together representatives from SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), Armadillo Aerospace, NanoRacks, Celestis, and ATK Liberty to talk about the needs of Commercial Space, and what Texas can do to fully embrace and nurture this vital, fledgling new industry.

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Video of Texas Gov. Rick Perry Welcoming XCOR to Midland

Video Caption: Gov. Rick Perry joined XCOR Aerospace and the Midland Development Corp. to announce the creation of XCOR’s new Commercial Space Research and Development Center headquarters at the Midland International Airport. XCOR develops and produces reusable launch vehicles, rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems, and will create 100 jobs at this new facility.

Gov. Rick Perry’s Prepared Remarks in Midland

Gov. Rick Perry welcomes XCOR to Texas.

Prepared Remarks of Gov. Rick Perry
Midland, Texas
July 9, 2012

This is a great day for Midland and a huge step forward for the State of Texas.

We couldn’t be happier to welcome XCOR to the Lone Star State, and we couldn’t be prouder to be home to their new Research and Development center.

This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Midland economic community, from the Economic Development Corp, to the folks here at Midland International Airport.

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Perry: XCOR Move “Huge Step Forward” for Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry welcomes XCOR to Midland. (Credit: Griffin Communications Group)

MIDLAND, Texas (Office of Gov. Perry PR) — Gov. Rick Perry joined XCOR Aerospace and the Midland Development Corp. to announce the creation of XCOR’s new Commercial Space Research and Development Center headquarters at the Midland International Airport. XCOR develops and produces reusable launch vehicles, rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems, and will create 100 jobs at this new facility.

“This is a great day for Midland and a huge step forward for the State of Texas. Visionary companies, like XCOR, continue to choose Texas because they know that innovation is fueled by freedom,” Gov. Perry said. “Whether on the cutting edge of biotech, communications, commerce or privatized efforts to serve the needs of the next generation of space explorers, you can find Texas at the forefront of the movement.”

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Coverage of XCOR Midland Events

XCOR Chief Pilot Rick Searfoss, Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson, and CEO Jeff Greason greet Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Midland. (Credit: Griffin Communications Group)

 

Credit: Griffin Communications Group
XCOR Chief Pilot Rick Searfoss shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry around a mockup of the Lynx suborbital space plane. (Credit. XCOR)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and XCOR Chief Pilot Rick Searfoss examine a mockup of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry flanked by XCOR officials in front of a full-scale mockup of the Lynx space plane in Midland. (Credit: Gov. Rick Perry’s Office)

Gov. Perry to Attend XCOR Press Conference in Midland

Gov. Rick Perry. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be in Midland on Monday to welcome XCOR Aerospace to the state, CBS 7 reports. XCOR officials will finalize a $10 million deal with the Midland Development Corporation and the City of Midland to relocate the company’s headquarters and research and development operations from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. XCOR plans to maintain some presence in Mojave.

The schedule for events for Monday:

12 p.m. EDT/9 a.m. PDT: Press conference, “Old Ami” Hangar, Midland International Airport
3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT: Media teleconference

The 62-year old Republican governor, who has been in office since 2000, has been active in courting space companies to the Lone Star State. He recently met with SpaceX Founder Elon Musk to discuss state incentives aimed at supporting the company’s plans to build a spaceport on the Gulf Coast near Brownsville.

It is unclear how much state funding, if any, is included in the XCOR deal that MDA and Midland city officials will approve on Monday.

 

Musk Meets with Texas Governor on Spaceport

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. (Credit: Rick Perry's office)

In addition to hosting a visit by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Wednesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry to discuss state support for the company’s proposed commercial spaceport near Brownsville. Apparently, things went well.

Prior to the meeting, Musk said that Texas is the leading candidate for the commercial launch site. The company is also looking at locations in Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Musk added that he was scheduled to meet with the governor and key members of the Texas State Legislature. The topic of flying astronauts into space from Texas would be discussed. That would depend upon whether NASA awards SpaceX funding for that purpose under the commercial crew program.

Texas Focuses on Public-Private Partnerships for NASA Johnson

TEXAS GOVERNOR’S OFFICE — Gov. Rick Perry today praised the creation of a public-private partnership that will harness the Texas based talent, creativity and resources at Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center into innovative technologies with groundbreaking implications for our daily lives. This partnership will play an integral role in keeping some of our nation’s brightest minds in Texas, and preserving jobs that might otherwise be lost as a result of the ending of the constellation program. Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced the initiative at the Texas Governor’s Small Business Forum: Aerospace Collaboration Opportunities event held at the JSC.

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