SpaceX reveals the grand extent of its starport plans in South Texas

An orbital view of SpaceX's South Texas launch site, with SN10 on the pad, in early March.

Enlarge / An orbital view of SpaceX’s South Texas launch site, with SN10 on the pad, in early March. (credit: Maxar Technologies)

As part of a federal review process for its plans in South Texas, details of SpaceX’s proposed spaceport have been made public. They were posted late last week in a public notice from the US Army Corps of engineers, which is soliciting public comments on the changes.

Most notably, the new documents include a detailed architectural drawing of the multi-acre site at the southern tip of Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico. Among the major hardware that exists, or will be built, includes:

  • Two orbital launch pads, one of which is already under constriction
  • Two suborbital launch pads, one of which already exists
  • Two landing pads, one of which already exists
  • Two structural test stands for Starship and the Super Heavy booster
  • A large “tank farm” to provide ground support equipment for orbital flights
  • A permanent position for the totemic “Starhopper” vehicle at the site’s entrance

What is striking about this architectural drawing is its compact nature, largely because SpaceX has limited land to work with at the facility, and must include stormwater ponds to mitigate against flooding. All of these facilities will be concentrated within a couple of dozen acres, which is in stark contrast to more expansive launch sites in Florida, at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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