LOS ANGELES TIMES – In a reversal of a deal local officials had touted as a win for Los Angeles tech, SpaceX will no longer build its Mars spaceship and rocket booster system at the Port of Los Angeles. Instead, work to build and test the prototype will be done in south Texas.
SpaceX said in a statement Wednesday that the decision was made to “streamline operations.”
In a tweet, Chief Executive Elon Musk said: “Starship & Raptor [engine] development is being done out of our HQ in Hawthorne, CA. We are building the Starship prototypes locally at our launch site in Texas, as their size makes them very difficult to transport.”
SpaceX has completed assembly of a prototype of the Starship hopper vehicle at its Boca Chica facility in south Texas, where it also plans to conduct tests in which the prototype will launch and go up in the air briefly before returning to Earth.
Musk has said the first of these tests could occur as soon as next month, though he hedged that “due to unforeseen issues” it could also happen two months from now.
The SpaceX statement said the Starship decision “does not impact our current manufacture, design, and launch operations in Hawthorne and Vandenberg Air Force Base” and that the company will “continue recovery operations of our reusable Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft at the Port of Los Angeles.”
Editor’s Note: To read the full story by reporter Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times, click here.