TechTimes on August 5, 2014, reported that on August 4, Rick Perry, governor of Texas, announced that the state will provide over $15 million to fund the building of a commercial spaceport in Brownsville, Texas. Texas Enterprise Fund will offer $2.3 million and $13 million will be contributed by the Spaceport Trust Fund to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp., which is expected to be used to develop infrastructure for the project. Excerpts below:
“Texas has been on the forefront of our nation’s space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight,” says Perry.
Elon Musk led SpaceX is estimated to invest $85 million for the development of the launch pad, which will also create 300 jobs in the region. SpaceX already employs about 250 employees in its rocket testing facility based in McGregor.
The Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. has also committed $5 million towards the SpaceX project. Brownville is hoping that the project creates over 500 jobs over a period of 10-years. The project will also attract related businesses to the region, which will create more jobs in the area.
The project may have received a lot of funding from the state of Texas; however, money is not the only reason why SpaceX chose Brownsville to build a spaceport. Market observers say that location from where a rocket is blasted to the space plays a very significant role.
The launch site’s nearness to the Earth’s Equator is an advantage as rockets can pick extra speed to reach the destination and remain in the orbit. The southern tip of Texas, where the project site will be built is closer to the Earth’s Equator, when compared to Cape Canaveral in Florida, from where most of the current orbital launches are made for the U.S.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launches rockets from French Guiana, which is significantly nearer to the Equator, when compared to Florida or Texas.