McALLEN, RGV – Eduardo A. Campirano, port director and CEO of the Port of Brownsville, says he would not be surprised to see Elon Musk announce even bigger plans for SpaceX’s rocket-launching site at Boca Chica.
Campirano was asked to give an update on SpaceX’s plans for Boca Chica when chairing a Rio South Texas Economic Council meeting earlier this week.
“I know Elon Musk is expected to speak on the 29th and everyone holds their breath to see what he says. I think he has made some indications that there may be some bigger plans for Boca Chica than initially anticipated,” Campirano said, in response to a question from Mike Willis on the South Texas Manufacturers Association.
“If you recall, at one of them, everyone kind of said he was crazy when he talked about launching rockets to Mars and he will be sending people. I would not be surprised to hear at one of his upcoming forums where he will just say when it is going to occur.”
Campirano hastened to add that is not official. “I don’t know (what he is going to say). He (Musk) is going to be a speaker at a conference on the 29th. It will be interesting to see what he says.”
Musk, founder of SpaceX, is expected to give highly anticipated updates next week about SpaceX’s plans to take humans to Mars. Musk will speak Sept. 29 at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, the same forum where he first revealed SpaceX’s plans for a Martian conquest.
SpaceX will likely be launching rockets from its facility on Boca Chica beach near Brownsville in late 2018, according to Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño. Interviewed by the Rio Grande Guardian about SpaceX after the RSTEC meeting had wrapped up, Campirano said: `
“They are moving forward with plans for Boca Chica. They have been working on their launch pad, that is going to happen. We have been told they have pushed the rocket launches back a year. So, instead of 2017 it is 2018. It seems to be on schedule. If there are any changes to that it will be potentially be because something else is going on. We are excited to see that (the International Astronautical Congress) going on. And then, of course, the university (UTRGV) is starting to do some of the preliminary work on Stargate (at Boca Chica). All that stuff goes hand in hand.”
Liquefied Natural Gas
Campirano was also asked, at the RSTEC meeting, about liquefied natural gas terminals being built at the Port of Brownsville.
“I don’t think you are going to see a (Federal Energy Regulation Commission) final order issued before the year is out on a permit. But, I do think there will be some actions that will occur between now and the end of the year that are indicative of moving in that direction,” Campirano said, in response to a question from McAllen Chamber of Commerce President Steve Ahlenius.
“One of them, probably, will be issuing the schedule, the timeline for activities, followed by the draft environmental impact statement. That is kind of tantamount to the next and final piece. I believe you will see it somewhere towards the second quarter of next year. What we don’t know is, is it going to be one or two, or maybe none (LNG terminals). FERC now has an active quorum, so they can actually start moving the agenda along on certain energy projects that have been sitting there, mainly pipelines. I think the next 12 months are going to be indicative of perhaps some really huge things going on in the Valley.”
Campirano also briefly spoke about Valley Crossing Pipeline, which will transport clean burning natural gas to the CFE—Mexico’s state-owned utility. The pipeline comes south in the Valley and then goes offshore before reaching Mexico. It is expected to serve approximately 37 million customers.
“This project will need close to 400 employees to start with. When finished, there will probably be 1,200 workers needed in Cameron County to complete the project,” Campirano said.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft in orbit.