La Feria News

Students Had an Opportunity to Visit SpaceX Launch

By Mike Villarreal

Two weeks ago, the students of the Santa Rosa ISD Texas ACE Program had an extraordinary start to their day. Rising at the early hour of 5 a.m., they embarked on a journey to witness the breathtaking launch at SpaceX on June 6, 2024. Engaging in various STEM activities, the students were brimming with anticipation and amazement, savoring every single moment of this remarkable and inspiring experience. This unique opportunity allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of space exploration and filled them with boundless enthusiasm for the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Who knows, perhaps one day, these bright young minds will find themselves looking down on Santa Rosa from the heights of the sky!

The SpaceX Starbase location was meticulously chosen between 2012 and 2014. A piece of land near Boca Chica Beach, close to Brownsville, Texas, was selected for the new commercial launch facility. SpaceX purchased 41 acres of land in this area and an additional 57 acres by July 2014. In August of 2014, it was announced that SpaceX had chosen this location as the new site for the non-government launch facility, a decision that was the result of careful planning and consideration.

This location was chosen after the final assessment of the nearby environment was completed and the necessary agreements were in place by July 2014. With SpaceX already having three launch locations leased from the U.S. government, this South Texas location would become the fourth active launch facility and the first private one.

SpaceX held a groundbreaking ceremony in September 2014, marking the start of a monumental project. Soil preparation began in October 2015, with teams working tirelessly to prepare the site for the upcoming operations. The first tracking antenna, a crucial component for communication, was installed in August 2016, followed by the first propellant tank in July 2018. A 30-foot prototype test vehicle called Starhopper was fabricated in late 2018, tested, and flown from March to August 2019, marking a significant milestone in the project. Additional prototype flight vehicles were built through 2021 at the facility for higher altitude tests, showcasing the continuous innovation and progress at the Starbase.
As of late 2023, there are over 2,000 full-time employees working at the SpaceX site in South Texas, a testament to the local community’s involvement and support. This location, the first private facility for SpaceX, is the largest private employer in Cameron County, located 17 miles east of Brownsville, with a launch flyover over the Gulf of Mexico. The site has plans to be used for interplanetary flights and commercial activity, a vision that the local community can be proud of.

The South Texas launch site has been the main testing and production site of the Super Heavy/Starship system, with all Starship vehicles constructed there. The SpaceX Starbase has not only had a significant economic impact on Brownsville, Texas, but it has also fostered a sense of community and pride. Over 2,000 employees, 71 percent of whom are from the Rio Grande Valley, are part of this groundbreaking project. SpaceX has also invested $430 million in payroll, operations, and capital improvements in Cameron County, contributing to the local economy and development.

It’s important to note that despite some opposition to the SpaceX facility, it has undeniably had a positive impact on the local economy, providing much-needed jobs for the area. The facility has also become a symbol of innovation and progress, attracting visitors and attention from around the world. Don’t miss the chance to visit the “Gateway to Mars” right here in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a sight to behold as we aim to reach the stars one day.

Photos from Santa Rosa ISD Texas ACE Program Facebook

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