According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas is stepping up efforts to entice SpaceX to create a space port near the southern Texas town of Brownsville. The thus far successful flight of SpaceX's Dragon has provided impetus for that effort.
Texas to provide financial inducements to SpaceX
According to the Chronicle story, the state of Texas is putting together a multimillion dollar package to persuade SpaceX to build the Brownsville spaceport. This would include subsidies from the Texas Enterprise Fund, infrastructure support from Texas's Dept of Transportation, assistance from the Texas Workforce Commission, as well as other inducements.
Brownsville space port to launch both unmanned and manned spacecraft
According to a story in Space.com, a filing with the FAA indicated that SpaceX plans to launch both manned and unmanned spacecraft from the proposed Brownsville space port. The facility would be built to handle up to 12 launches a year, which would include Dragon spacecraft and satellites launched by the Falcon 9 rocket as well as payloads by the planned Falcon Heavy launcher. The facility would have a vertical launch pad and a control center as well as other support facilities.
FAA hearing in Brownsville draws hundreds
According to the Brownsville Herald, the FAA held a hearing on the proposed spaceport on May 15. Several dozen local citizens made statements from the microphone, all in favor of the project. Most attractive about the proposed space port is the 600 local jobs it would likely create, paying a minimum salary of $50,000 a year.
Successful Dragon flight provides impetus for space port push
According to the story in the Chronicle, the success the SpaceX dragon has had in docking with the International Space Station has provided some impetus for the Texas state government to attract a SpaceX commercial space port. The thus far successful mission suggests that the coming age of commercial space flight is more reality than hype and that Texas had best get in on it. Texas, unlike Florida, does not have a dedicated state agency program designed to attract commercial space business.
Other Texas space facilities would support a Brownsville space port
According to the Space.Com story, SpaceX already has a testing facility in McGregor, Texas. The Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston, still reeling from the effects of the end of the space shuttle program, could provide astronaut training and other support services for a Brownsville space port.
Other sites in the running
Alaska, California, Florida, Texas and Virginia are also being considered as sites for a SpaceX commercial space port, according to the Space.Com story.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.