SpaceX paying Los Angeles $1.4M annually for rocket factory
- The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved last week a $1.38 million annual lease deal with entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX for a 19-acre site at the Port of Los Angeles where the company will build its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), Spaceflight Now reported. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the deal during his yearly State of the City speech on Monday.
- The port's Berth 240 is approximately 14 miles from the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, a location which will allow the company's employees easy access to the planned, 200,000-square-foot plant, according to Business Insider. Most of SpaceX's rocket parts are manufactured at its headquarters but the near-350-foot-long BFR requires a larger space from which the company will ship the completed rockets to Cape Canaveral and to its Texas test facility.
- SpaceX is projecting that construction on the first piece of the project – an 80,000-square foot, 80-foot-tall fabrication hanger – will begin within a year. The rockets are two-part launch vehicles that the company says will be able to transport 100 people and 150 tons of cargo into space. They are an integral part of Musk's plans for robotic and human missions to Mars.
Space travel is just one area in which Musk is developing innovative ways to move people and things. Musk's Tesla is a leader in the electric vehicle business, as well as the solar power storage industry, and the entrepreneur's 2013 challenge issued to research teams around the world to design and build a working hyperloop system promises to revolutionize travel and transport here on Earth.
While there have been no hyperloop systems built yet, Musk and a few other companies are in testing phases. However, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies recently announced that it has started construction on the first full-scale system at its production facility in France. The 1-kilometer, elevated system should be completed by 2019.
Musk has also entered the hyperloop game and has secured permissions for preliminary digging and station construction in the Washington, D.C., area, although members of Congress have started asking questions about the validity of the conditional utility permit Maryland issued Musk's The Boring Company.
This month, Los Angeles granted The Boring Company a critical waiver under the California Environmental Quality Act, potentially speeding up the approval process necessary for it to be able to build a tunnel to test out yet another potential Musk transportation system, a network of underground high-speed sleds that would ferry vehicles at speeds of approximately 130 mph. This could be the same system Musk will propose for the new express transit service from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport. The Boring Company is one of two finalists bidding on the project.
- Spaceflight Now SpaceX to build BFR factory in Southern California
- Business Insider SpaceX just got approval to build Mars spaceships in Los Angeles from the city's mayor
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter