Rockets in the Port of Los Angeles: What Will SpaceX Manufacturers Make Next?
When we look back in 30 years, will we say this was the beginning of our successful Mars colonization? Will the history books of 2100 mark this as the start of our interplanetary presence? Is Elon Musk gearing up to change our place in the universe with the creation of a new SpaceX manufacturing plant at the Port of Los Angeles?
Perhaps, but before we get to intergalactic colonies and travel, we should start with the basic manufacturing needs of a company with goals that are literally out of this world.
Port of LA and the Big Falcon Rocket
It’s safe to say that SpaceX leaders dream big, and their proposed plan for a manufacturing facility capable of handling the highly anticipated SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) is definitely a large one. Due to the BFR’s proposed size, the Port of LA location would be key as the rockets will be too large to transport on land. In addition, the port would offer SpaceX leaders the opportunity to house the reusable Falcon Heavy rocket vehicles which drone ships recover post-launch as well as for BFRs in the future.
The manufacturing facility would be housed in a 203,450-square-foot building and potentially create up to 750 jobs. A plan of this magnitude and scope will likely, out of necessity, call upon industry professionals with varied skills in a range of manufacturing sectors. At the very least, the facility will require welding, painting, composite curing, cleaning, and assembly operations experts in addition to general manufacturers.
This is also a long-term project, as not even SpaceX can manufacture rocket ships overnight. The proposed terms start with an initial 10-year lease but include options for two 10-year renewals. This means SpaceX leaders are truly looking to the future with a possible three-decade span to make their BFR dreams a reality. Understandably, they are also planning for potential expansions at the location as well and are in talks with Port of Los Angeles authorities to obtain the option of leasing adjacent property to handle operations, according to the Los Angeles Times article.
Right now, the facility’s construction plans are still in the proposal stages. Those within the Port of LA and SpaceX have to reach an agreement that will work for both, and construction is slated to take at least 16 to 18 months. This includes the erection of four aboveground storage tanks for some yet-unnamed purposes. It will still be quite a while before we see exactly what SpaceX executives have in mind — and even longer before our dreams of a Mars-bound private rocket ship come true.