Space X is expanding its facilities to Florida to make way for its Starship orbital rockets and along with other endeavors for NASA.
Elon Musk’s Space X will be developing its Starship space vehicle in Florida — where all of the United States’ most significant achievements in space exploration was once based.
Once confirmed, Space X will be following the likes of the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Patrick Air Force Base, which are all located in the Florida area.
Particularly for the Space X Starship, it is a super heavy-lift launch vehicle that’s pegged to be a 384-foot giant (117 meters). Upright, it will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty and Space X is making two of them, namely the Mk-1 and Mk-2.
The two Starship prototypes are currently sitting in four separate pieces (two-barrel sections and two pointed nose sections).
Significantly, the rocket is set to be a central piece in Musk’s commercial plans in space, as it will also be used to reach Mars and, hopefully, to come back to Earth for reuse.
Approximately, the Starship rockets are expected to launch up to 24 times a year from SpaceX’s current flagship launchpad 39A, the draft of the company’s environmental assessment said.
Furthermore, it will also be integral in NASA’s Artemis mission, which hopes to bring man back and the first woman to the moon by 2024. The 39A launchpad would also support NASA’s future moon missions from the same Kennedy Space Centre site used for the Apollo lunar missions.
“They’re moving very fast,” said Dale Ketcham, vice president of government relations at Space Florida, the state’s commercial space development agency. “This is actually getting closer to what Elon got into this business, to begin with. This is a fundamental infrastructure to get to Mars, the early stages of it,” Ketcham added.
Notably, Musk has been developing necessary strategies to achieve an ideal situation where people can travel lower-Earth orbit commercially. However, Musk’s goals to go farther, such as exploring Mars in a more in-depth manner.
Ahead of the news, Mk-1—one of the Starship rockets—is “ready to fly” or at least almost, according to Musk. An announcement that helps Musk take another step towards achieving his goals.
In a series of tweets, Musk said he planned to provide an update on the development of the company’s Starship project on August 24.
Furthermore, he also said that he would make the announcements in Boca Chica, an unincorporated area along the southern Texas coast near the border with Mexico.
Currently, both Starship spacecraft is being developed by separate teams of SpaceX engineers. One of which in Boca Chica, Texas and Starship Mk2, in Cocoa, Florida.
Through this internal competition, Musk’s Space X hopes to yield positive and faster results regarding mechanisms for structures, propulsion, and avionics that will allow Starship to safely land on, and return from, a variety of surfaces and environments. Potential targets include the dusty, airless surface of the Moon and Mars with its thin atmosphere and more Earth-like geology.
In a separate instance, Boeing similarly made a move to Florida as influenced with its partnership with NASA for Project Artemis.
Aside from Space X, about a dozen other companies are working alongside the U.S. space agency in the ambitious goal of offering access to low-orbit Earth.
According to a statement from Boeing, their work involves in delivering the first two core stages of the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System—an ISS-like platform that orbits the moon to serve as a transition point from the Earth to the moon, Mars, and farther. Boeing is the prime contractor for the Space Launch System.
Also, Boeing is said to assist with NASA’s plans with commercializing the ISS for research and development. Particularly, NASA will offer researchers and commercial companies space trips to the ISS to develop their technology and experiments concerning space activities, which would help further NASA’s own research as well.
Overall, Space X extending to Florida is a smart move not only because it could be a part of decades of historical significance in space exploration but also be practical since they’re closer with the agency that they’re helping to achieve its own goals.