SpaceX Now the Largest Private Employer in Brownsville, Texas

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According to a report from The Houston Chronicle, SpaceX invested $430 million USD in operations at its ‘Starbase’ facility in Brownsville, Texas, over the course of 2021 and is now the city’s “largest private employer” with over 1,600 individuals under its employ (via Business Insider).

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said during a “State of the City” event on Thursday that SpaceX will contribute $885 million in gross economic output to Cameron County.

“Not only have they become our largest private employer, but they recently added a substantial presence within the city for various operations,” said Mendez. The rocketry giant has poured $500,000 into improving the 46,000 square feet site it has leased at the Brownsville Aerospace Industrial Park in the Boca Chica area.

SpaceX recently also posted several job openings for engineers at its Boca Chica site on its website.

Elon Musk’s space exploration and technology company is building its Raptor 2 engines, Super Heavy booster rockets, and Starship spacecraft at Starbase.

Starship is an almost 400-foot tall, reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX to transport both humans and cargo to space. The rocket is designed to further SpaceX’s goal of putting humans on Mars and its overarching ambition of interplanetary travel.

Musk has said that the company expects to “have 39 flightworthy engines built” by this month, with Starship’s first orbital flight “hopefully” launching in May.

However, SpaceX is still waiting on a license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its planned orbital launch of Starship. Last month, the FAA delayed its environmental review of SpaceX’s launch proposal for the third time to April 29.

SpaceX has a backup plan if the FAA continues to delay Starship’s launch attempt. The company would move the entire Starship program to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where environmental approval has already been granted.

SpaceX also wants to expand its Brownsville site and add another launchpad, but the US Army Corps froze those plans earlier this month as it collects more data.

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