SpaceX: Launch Site Texas & Mars Crossing (Thread 2)


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Launch Site Texas and Mars Crossing. If that doesn't say it all.....

http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/local_news/article_85f3a5e6-452e-11e4-b810-001a4bcf6878.html

SpaceX makes more moves

BROWNSVILLE ? There is a new subdivision at Boca Chica in Cameron County that is named in reference to the area?s future space connection.

?Launch Site Texas? is the second subdivision that Elon Musk?s SpaceX has re-platted through Dogleg Park LLC. The first subdivision is called ?Mars Crossing.?

SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical rockets, which also could carry the Dragon capsule, and a variety of smaller, reusable suborbital launch vehicles from Boca Chica, where the world?s first private commercial and vertical launch complex is planned.

The proposed $100 million launch complex site is 17 miles east-northeast of the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport and about 5 miles south of South Padre Island.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday.

The new subdivision consists of 49.33 acres of land and is the site of the proposed launch pad. In addition to re-platting the land to provide for prepa-ration and development of the property, Dogleg Park continues to purchase properties at the Boca Chica site, according to public records.

Dogleg Park LLC has ac-quired seven additional lots, bringing the number of tracts of land that it now owns to 87, equaling more than 100 acres of land.

A bit out of date, but the red area is Launch Site Texas* and the green properties they have bought (left, Mars Crossing) or the borders of the properties they are using under state and local easements.

bocachica_spacex_commsite.jpg

*Launch Site Texas

SpaceX_private_launch_facility--Vertical

Concept of Launch Site Texas

post-10859-0-30760800-1340227403.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mars Crossing main buildings,

Launch Control Center Buildings

The one-story control center buildings would be approximately 14,186 ft2 and 30-45 ft in height, and would be used for command and control of the launch vehicle, payload, and ground systems during launch and test operations. Each control center building would consist primarily of several large rooms for control consoles, conference rooms, and support rooms. In addition, each facility would house office areas for site personnel.

Payload Processing Facilities

The payload processing facilities would be used to conduct final processing of payloads prior to

integrating them with the launch vehicle. This processing would include final spacecraft checkouts, RF checks, payload fueling, and other activities as required. The facilities would be designed to support the processing of two payloads simultaneously, to allow for a better throughput. Each building would be approximately 14,669 ft2 and 65-85 ft in height

Launch Vehicle Processing Hangar

The proposed 30,774 ft2, 50-65 ft tall launch vehicle processing hangar would be used to conduct refurbishment of flown stages, or for pre-integration preparation of the launch vehicle stages before they go to the pad hangar for final integration. Use of this facility would improve the overall vertical launch area throughput by minimizing the vehicle?s activities associated with the launch vehicle in the vertical launch area Hangar. This facility would be similar to the Hangar at the vertical launch area, but shorter.

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  • 1 month later...

[....] = my edits

http://www.krgv.com/news/spacex-brings-in-other-businesses/

SpaceX Brings in Other Businesses

BROWNSVILLE - Big businesses from across the country are already following SpaceX to the Rio Grande Valley. Brownsville leaders said they are seeing growth in the manufacturing sector as a result of the space industry moving here.

A Michigan tool and die company bought out a Brownsville company. Paragon D[ie] and E[ngineering of Grand Rapids] bought out Rio Grande Tool and Die.

The company is now the first official supplier to SpaceX in Brownsville. They will make specific parts and components for the machines used by SpaceX.

Brownsville Economic Development Council member Gilbert Salinas said, "When you recruit a particular company, especially a company such as SpaceX of that scope, size and magnitude. One of the biggest benefits that you will have is the companies that are coming in to service that particular enterprise. We're starting to see that effect already."

Paragon is refurbishing the building with plans for expansion. Salinas said [just] since the buyout, Paragon expanded the operation in Brownsville from 10 employees to 30.

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  • 1 year later...

New concepts of the Texas launch site via a Google Maps posting. There's also a crap load of soil being moved in from a pit ~20 miles away, dumped in the launch complexes area.

 

Link....

 

Original
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Rest
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7187ac0abe04cd3dc1959dd497507f2f.jpg


 

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Possible new LC for BFR/MCT, then? I want to look at the maps and stuff; standard launch corridors and practices still apply, I assume (23 degree inclination, needs "feet wet", etc)?

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Mostly for F9/FH commercial launches, but it will have 2 launch control centers.

 

Musk did say Brownsville is on the list for the BFR/BFS factory, but from there it could be barged most anywhere. One downside as a BFR site is that South Padre Islands resorts are only 3-4 miles away.  

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Yeah, that's no good unless they build another LC further down the coast after setting up an "Exclusion Zone". That would mean another Air Station or even an Air Force Base in order to make it enforceable. Building BFR/MCT stages (even partial segments) and hauling them elsewhere is probably not the best of ideas -- more cost, and it's gonna be expensive enough; not to mention they'll be heavy beasts that need special handling. As they are I don't see any other option but vertical assembly.

 

On the plus side, there's stuff we can do now that we wouldn't dream of being able to do during Apollo/Saturn. Composite materials that save weight and add strength, engines that crank out a lot more grunt per lb (and we haven't even gotten to Raptor yet), better systems that do a lot more with far less weight ... 

 

To build Apollo with today's technology it would weigh a mere 1/2 of what it did then, and be far more capable. Problem is it would take 5x as long to get it built, if at all. All we need to do is look at Orion/SLS for verification.

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They can't build another launch site for BFR further South as Mexico is only 3 miles in that direction, so South Padre Island (SPI) would only be 6-7 miles not 10+.  West is only a few miles to Brownsville. Can't go very far North without hitting the King Ranch, which occupies most of the land to Corpus Christi. What isn't King Ranch would mean overflying the occupied parts of SPI with the most powerful rocket in history. East is water unless you launch from a converted oil rig, which is possible but has logistical and maintenance issues (look up Sea Launch.)

 

WEB112711kingranch_1214778a_3.jpg

Edited by DocM
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Agreed. I'll leave it to them to decide what's best. I was going to suggest that they could use the Padre Island Estuary, to the North; as there's very little in every direction (giving them a nice, large buffer zone), but it's not worth the hassle. The location is a sandy beach and susceptible to washing out -- not like the Cape, where the terrain is more varied (and stable).

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/26.8458544,-97.4270705//@26.8285446,-97.4351758,13944m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

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I hear they're currently trucking in ~53 loads an hour. 20+ new photos at the South Padre Island Life (SPI Life) FB link

 

SPI Life Facebook....

 

The construction progress of the new Texas #SpaceX launch pad located @ #BocaChica. Before this phase of construction is complete, 30 more days of 7 days a week from sun up to sun down hauling in truck loads of dirt one after another. 11,000 truckloads of dirt total being hauled in. This is being done to prepare the site's foundation before further construction can commence. #SouthPadreIsland is close and can easily be seen by #SPILife from the site.

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This will be a great site for F9 and FH, which should be busy with the projected cadence increase in the future. I am really having a hard time thinking that this site could be used for anything larger, due to population proximity. A factory and shipping pier, yes...big monster launch...no.

Has me curious as to what other sites they have looked at. They do have a bit of time still, with FH beginning it's start, but one would think SpaceX will have to nail down a site in a few years and start a huge construction for that monster.

 

:)

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Just curious... Have we heard anything on the range facilities needed for Brownsville? Does SpaceX have to put up the money for the range? 

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2 hours ago, flyingskippy said:

Just curious... Have we heard anything on the range facilities needed for Brownsville? Does SpaceX have to put up the money for the range? 

As we're seeing above in @DocM's post, where the Facebook Photos link has a ton of pictures where they're actually building the new LC, and Google Maps has the actual location for it, it's Boca Chica but the address is actually Brownsville, TX. The location is down Highway 4 leading to a "Dead End" at the beach; and there's nothing actually there within several miles so it's a decent site to build at.

 

And yes, SpaceX is building on their own dime. NASA might be kicking in some additional funding, and the Air Force will probably handle Security and Site Administration (since it is technically a "sensitive" location like Canaveral); and it's likely that the U.S. Border Patrol will have a Station there too since it's so close to the border with Mexico.

 

I wouldn't be at all surprised if, on the Mexico side of the border, they set up a little area for spectators and such for viewing launches. Space is an awesome way to bring people together. :yes: 

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Boca Chica launch center per the Environmental Impact Statement, all built up about 25 feet to keep the structures above the official '100 Year Flood' level. More may be added as needed.

 

Launch Pad 1: 17,900 ft^2 x 50 feet high + cargo & crew service tower(s). Much like KSC LC-39A.

 

Launch Control Center 1: 14,186  ft^2 x 45 ft high

 

Launch Control Center 2: 14,186  ft^2 x 45 ft high

 

Horizontal Integration Facility 1: 360 x 120 x 65  ft.  high

 

Horizontal Integration Facility 2: 360 x 120 x 65  ft.  high

 

Payload Processing Facility 1: 14,669  ft^2 x 85  ft. high

 

Payload Processing Facility 2: 14,669  ft^2 x 85  ft. high

 

STARGATE: phased array radioastronomy & space tracking facility with the University of Texas Brownsville. Just south of Launch Control Center 1.

 

Dual fiber-optic network connecting STARGATE, the SpaceX launch centers and labs at the University of Texas Brownsville.

 

Payload  Propellants: 20 x 20 x 15 ft  high

 

Lightning Towers (4)

 

Water Tower: ~500,000 gallons

 

Office: 80 x 40  ft

 

Warehouse: 10,800  ft^2 x 45  ft high

 

Workshop:  80 x 135  ft

 

Communications

 

Power Generation (solar and diesel)

 

Diesel Storage

 

Propellant Storage

 

Septic processing (can't be a below ground septic field)

 

and a partridge in a pear tree ;)


 

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I know that the Boca Chica SpaceX facilities are being built by SpaceX. I was wondering about range facilities like the 45th use to provide range services for SpaceX at Cape Canaveral.  Is that what Stargate is doing with the UoTB? 

 

 

Edited by flyingskippy
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I need to quit automatically typing U. Texas at Brownsville. It's now U. Texas Rio Grande Valley; UTRGV. A recent merger.

 

STARGATE is multi-faceted, and it stands for Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Gigahertz Astrophysical Transient Emission. 

 

STARGATE's purpose is research into and the commercialization & use of phased array based radioastronomy, comms and space tracking & control. 

 

Launch tracking as the 45th has done it over the years; optical and C-band radar + transponders, is going bye-bye.  There's a transition to GPS Metric tracking and autonomous flight termination with a manual option, and SpaceX will be in full control of their range.

 

Additionally, SpaceX is developing a flight termination system which doesnt need an explosive linear shaped charge to unzip the tanks. Its first use was when F9R Dev-1 self terminated at McGregor after a sensor failure. Yes, it blew up but without an explosive charge that needed activation or safeing.

 

 

Edited by DocM
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Yep. Far more effective way to destroy a Rocket than "explodey" and have shrapnel everywhere; when you can simply unzip the LOX and it essentially disintegrates.

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 Nice to see that they are going to use GPS tracking instead of radar tech from the 70s. 

 

What type of FTS are they going to use if it isn't a linear shaped charge? I thought the F9 Dev1 used a shaped charge to unzip the tanks. 

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F9 didn't originally have a shaped charge FTS but the ranges insist on one, but as I noted lots of things are changing. Especially because at some point there'll be multiple incoming and outgoing spaceflights nearly at once, at which time a half mile wide fireball would be bad manners.

 

AIUI, the SpaceX prototype system uses huge dump valves on dedicated circuits and power systems. With a highly pressurized stage it empties pretty quick then collapses.

Edited by DocM
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I see.  I vaguely remember them mentioning a FTS that utilized valves a while back.  I think it was Mueller talking about the Merlin engines. 

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Just a recap of above soil compaction...

 

Space X lays down dirt; expects to be ready to launch in 2018

 

Quote

At some point in the future, rockets will tower over the SpaceX launch site at Boca Chica Beach.


Until that happens, the only thing towering out there will be a pile of dirt — a very large pile of dirt, one that’s grown substantially since trucks started bringing in the stuff on a daily basis late last year.


The purpose is to raise and stabilize the area before actual construction of the launch pad and associated buildings begins. The technical term is “soil surcharging.”


When the final load is delivered, 310,000 cubic yards of soil will have been brought in, enough to cover a football field 13 stories high, according to the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace company.


Launch pads require very stable soil, since rockets are very heavy and hangar foundations must not crack. Surcharging is a much more cost-effective solution than, say, driving steel beams or pouring 200-foot concrete pillars, though it does take longer.


Once the mountain of dirt is in place it will be graded, then allowed to settle for a period time. After that, it’s expected actual construction of the launch pad will move quickly, according to the company. Until then, a steady parade of dump trucks rumbles to and from the site as the artificial plateau grows taller.


Of course it’s a lot of wear and tear on S.H. 4, which leads to the site, so Texas Department of Transportation crews are on hand to patch holes in the road as they appear.


The official groundbreaking for the Boca Chica site took place in September 2014, attended by Gov. Rick Perry and SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk. Musk at the time speculated that launches from Boca Chica could commence as early as 2016.


The need for surcharging has extended that timeline, though SpaceX expects to be ready for its first launch from the site in 2018. Meanwhile, the company continues its string of history-making accomplishments.


SpaceX was the first private entity to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station, in 2012. Last December, the company achieved another historical first: shooting a reusable Falcon 9 rocket into orbit and then returning it to Earth in a controlled, vertical landing.


Then on April 8, SpaceX landed a Falcon 9 on a drone ship off the Florida coast after putting a Dragon robotic spacecraft into space. The successful offshore landing came after four failed attempts during the past 15 months, an achievement “Scientific American” described as “a dramatic feat of engineering prowess.”

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/premium/article_d5e1e324-044a-11e6-9c24-13e8f83ab605.html

 

2 images, top one is soil compaction area, bottom is soil source.

site and source images

 

Actual route for dirt transport.

route

 

:)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Local report....

 

Special Report: Space X: Countdown to Launch

 

Quote

BROWNSVILLE — Construction on a launch pad near Boca Chica Beach just started, and more construction will continue if the weather holds. People who live nearly a mile down from it can only wait.

 

A small village sits on the last edge of land where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. It’s about to be the starting point of something big, and the anticipation is almost over. Thousands of people will get to see a rocket launch from Boca Chica.

 

State Highway 4 carries dozens of dump trucks back and forth. The soil being transported will play an important role. It will stabilize the ground where the launch site is located to keep it safe.

 

Gale Lee McConnaughey said he’s watched the beach change.

 

“The biggest thing we like is the closeness to the beach, the quietness of it,” he said.

 

McConnaughey has called Boca Chica Village his home for the past nine years. The tiny neighborhood is made up of a handful of homes, mostly inhabited by Winter Texans. The neighborhood sits about a mile from the launch site.

 

Dump trucks will roll for several more months. It will take a lot of soil and time to stabilize the area. The once quiet, cozy feel of Boca Chica is now gone.

 

“The weight of the trucks is what does it, because before that, it wasn’t like that,” McConnaughey said.

 

Potholes now mark the main road to Boca Chica Village. The Texas Department of Transportation maintains the highway. Officials said eventually the road will be repaired. The noise of the dump trucks will face away.

 

Some people living in Boca Chica Village welcome the company. McConnaughey questions what will happen to his winter home.

 

“If it comes down to it, if they start to buy everything around and buying houses up, we might not have a choice,” he said.

 

The Winter Texan said he hasn’t heard anything from the space exploration company in a year. The last thing he received was an official letter, asking if McConnaughey would consider selling his home.

 

CHANNEL 5 NEWS checked the Cameron County Appraisal District’s website. Currently, Space X owns 133 properties in Cameron County, all along Boca Chica Beach. That’s 41 more pieces of land than the company had in 2015.

 

Only one of those properties owned by Space X is a house in Boca Chica Village. Sources with the company said they aren’t seeking homes to buy from their neighbors in the village.

 

The owner of the house purchased by Space X offered to sell it to them.

 

While the space exploration company continues to build its launch site, agencies across the country are preparing.

 

“We are preparing with Space X by having meetings with them to determine what our emergency plans are, and what they correlate with our emergency plans,” said Tom Hushen, Cameron County emergency management coordinator.

 

Hushen said the space company will train emergency response teams about any specialized materials that may be used in flight.

 

The company’s plans reveal only one launch pad at Boca Chica Beach. Space X is approved to launch 12 rockets a year from that site.

 

Currently, Space X is working to successfully land rockets. Recently, it landed a falcon rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. That was the company’s second successful landing. The cost of space travel will be reduced if the company can reuse rockets. There is no word if Space X plans to do the same off Boca Chica Beach.

 

Emergency officials will be prepared for anything.

 

“Space X will also come down, and they said they will train any of our firefighters in any specialized equipment that they may need,” Hushen said.

 

Cameron County has two hazmat teams in place: one in Harlingen and the other in Brownsville. Other fire departments around the Rio Grande Valley have trained hazmat response firefighters.

 

Emergency Management Coordinator Hushen said he’s not sure if the county will need to add another fire department. The nearest one is 25 minutes away from the launch site.

 

“We contact with local fire departments to run rural areas, and we look at the amount of fires and amount of travel time to get out there,” Hushen said. “And we go through contracts ever year to see if they are making those calls that are needed, but that would have to be a decision made through the emergency service district."

 

At Boca Chica Village, Gale McConnaughey and his neighbors are waiting. Some residents who live there said they’re excited to see a rocket launch. McConnaughey is worried they’ll be forced out.

 

“Because of the launch pad and everything, maybe safety wise or in case of an accident, we just think they aren't going to want us here,” he said.

 

The sand will shift under the weight of new soil. The roar of trucks will be replaced with that of a launched rocket. McConnaughey recognizes change is coming. A new beginning is around the corner.

 

The Boca Chica Village resident said he fears the peaceful days of lazy fishing and collecting seashells along the beach are nearing an end.

The first rocket launch is expected to happen in the Valley in 2018.

http://www.krgv.com/story/31963797/special-report-space-x-countdown-to-launch

 

I think everything will work out fine there. I read an article last week where mention of a "rocket viewing" platform, in town, was being considered.

 

Of note...  approved for 12 launches a year from that site.

 

:D

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12 per year in the initial EIS, and those can be renegotiated with the locals and feds. I'd be willing to bet another pad gets built South of the initial one.

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It won't be as large or as busy as the Cape; but 12 a year will put it above Vandy and White Sands. And there's more room in Brownsville for Factories, not to mention it's way easier (and faster) to float Falcons and Falcon Heavy Cores across the Gulf to CCAS than to drive them cross-country, then set up a Processing Hub there to get 'em ready to launch.

 

Five years from now, that whole area will be thriving, if not booming economically. It'll be the number one growth area in the Country; and the local economy will stay strong after it levels off. And I think that the Space Tourism will bring in a steady stream of money to the area -- not to mention the added Tax Revenue the continued SpaceX Operations alone will bring in quarterly. Brownsville and Boca Chica would be wise to treat SpaceX fairly. :yes: 

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