SpaceX Building Million Sq Foot Starship Starfactory, Working On Flight 3 & 4 Applications

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SpaceX’s general manager for Starbase, Kathy Leuders, outlined in a presentation given earlier this month that the firm is planning to increase its Starship launch cadence from Texas rapidly. This process will involve SpaceX and the FAA working together on multiple licensing applications simultaneously, according to Ms. Leuders. Her presentation shared that SpaceX is rapidly expanding its facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, and will soon build a rocket manufacturing factory called Starfactory. Starship is the world’s largest rocket, and SpaceX’s plans for it range from interplanetary missions going as far as Mars to conducting point-to-point flights on Earth.

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Ms. Leuders’ presentation was given at the Brownsville Event Center in Brownsville, Texas at a talk organized by the Office of Space Commerce and the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her talk ranged from sharing details about SpaceX’s future Starship launch plans, the money it invested to set up its base in Boca Chica, Texas and its facility expansion.

SpaceX manufactures its Starship rockets in Boca Chica, and the engines that power them are shipped in from the firm’s facilities in California. Leuders said her company is undertaking ‘major construction’ activity at the site.

SpaceX’s Starship with the remarkable views of the Boca Chica beach in the background before the second test flight last month. Image: SpaceX/X

She shared:

“Anybody that’s been at Starbase, they understand we’re in the middle of a major construction activity. I mean we have a million square foot factory coming online and being built right now. We have additional homes being built in the village that we have coming online. We have all of our utilities, we kind of [inaudible] little bit backward, we built a bunch of stuff and then we built our utilities and so that didn’t necessarily make that the easiest job in the world. But we’re working on that too right now.

“Along with adding another pad out at the, we have our first pad obviously, but looking at adding another pad because with the launch cadence we’d like to have, getting that second pad ready was gonna be another goal that we have for this year.

“We’re also you know using our Massey’s test site, that test site is very critical because what it allows us to do is keep our test operations at the Massey’s test site and away from the beach. We know that it’s a pain in the butt for everybody when have to close the beach so we’ve moving more of our testing over there so that it doesn’t impact operations that are over near the beach.

“So we are really working hard to figure out how we can accomplish and achieve the goal that Elon has for us to get this factory up to speed, get a new office building up to, built. Get the homes built. And then we’re moving into, you know this kind of the fast paced activity of us producing and launching rockets at a regular cadence.”

She also shared details about the third and fourth Starship test flights. According to Ms. Leuders:

“. . .  we actually right now are working and updating the data and submitting for our flight three and flight four applications. Because as you guys have probably heard in the news, that we tend to get the rockets ready, and then we are, we sometimes are waiting a little bit while we’re going through and getting our i’s dotted and t’s crossed on the licensing application.

“So, we’ve been working really hard with the FAA on kind of getting ahead of it and defining and continuing to find ways that we can maybe able to do multiple license applications at the same time. But, to be fair to the FAA, we’re a unique, one, first time commercial spaceport. First time, you know doing experimental flights like this with a huge rocket. So, um, we understand that it’s going to take us a little while for us to work through this with them. “

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