A January 18, 2014 story in the Brownsville Herald suggests that excitement is rising in that border community at the prospect of a commercial space port that SpaceX could build there. It seems that a SpaceX space port could change the nature of that community from a place where young people yearn to escape to one where people aspire to move to.
“When now 20-year-old James Murray was a student a Porter High School he remembers his classmates saying they couldn’t wait to leave Brownsville once they graduated from high school and college.
“There was nothing in this border town to keep them grounded. No big employers to make them want to stick around.
“With the prospect of Space Exploration Technologies Inc., known as SpaceX, possibly building a rocket launch pad outside Brownsville, Murray hopes to land a job with the company and stay put so he can raise a family where he grew up.
“’Them coming to Brownsville actually creates an opportunity to do what I want, to do what I love, to be able to stay and raise my children where I have lived,’ said Murray, a Brownsville native and third-year physics major at the University of Texas at Brownsville.”
The final decision on whether or not SpaceX’s space port will be built in Texas is awaiting an environmental impact report being prepared by the FAA. In the meantime, local, county, and state officials are moving heaven and earth, as it were, to make sure that rockets will soon roar into low Earth orbit from the Texas gulf coast.
Space could be as much of an economic game changer for Texas, especially the economically depressed south Texas, as oil was decades ago. Texas has already been associated with space since the early 1960s, thanks to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. It has more recently been the venue of commercial space activities, thanks to Xcor in Midland, Blue Origin near Van Horn, and SpaceX itself near McGregor. A space port, where actually rockets would be launched, would cement Texas as a space state, causing economic and cultural changes that will be difficult to predict, but would undoubtedly be of great benefit to the Lone Star State.