Earlier this week, SpaceX (aka Elon Musk’s other company) was granted approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico. While the company will still need approvals from local agencies before it can begin construction, the FAA’s decision is a monumental step forward on the path to making the long-planned spaceport a reality. This is major win for SpaceX, since the proposed spaceport will allow the company to launch from private property, rather than from Air Force facilities it currently uses for rocket tests and missions to the International Space Station.
On Wednesday, the FAA, which oversees all commercial space launches in the US, issued SpaceX what’s known as a Record of Decision that states the agency will grant launch licenses to the company to operate at a private location along the Texas-Mexico border near Boca Chico State Park — about 20 miles east of Brownsville, Texas. Under the FAA decision, SpaceX may conduct 12 commercial launches per year through 2025, specifically ten Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets.
This definitely isn’t the last hurdle that SpaceX needs to overcome before it can start building (it still needs approval from various state agencies in order to build roads start construction on the site), but this should be the last federal obstacle the company will face before it breaks ground on the spaceport.