Let Us Clarify: SpaceX Spaceport "Probably" Will Come to Texas

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

On Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that SpaceX is definitely totally coming to Texas to build a launchpad. Kind of. That's what the Houston Chronicle reported as breaking news with a headline that came off sounding like the spaceport in Texas is a done deal. However, an offhand answer to a question at the end of a press conference isn't the same as an actual announcement of clearly stated definitely-going-to-happen intentions (unless Musk is playing FDR-style politics, which we're pretty sure he's not.)

It's true that SpaceX has been buying up property near Brownsville in south Texas and it's true that Musk has been asking for perks from both the folks of Brownsville and the state legislature. But here's the thing: Land can be bought and incentives can be secured, but until the launchpad that will send SpaceX's Falcon 9 and the Falcon 9 heavy to orbit is actually built, Musk can change his mind and plans can change.

The "big announcement" happened at a press conference Musk held in Washington, D.C. on Friday. He was there confirming that SpaceX recently (almost) pulled off a soft landing of the Falcon 9 in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a big deal in and of itself because it could make space travel a heck of a lot cheaper if it can really be pulled off. (The rocket made it through the first stages of a soft landing, but it was lost because of storms at sea, Musk said, Business Insider reports.) Musk was wrapping the press conference up when someone asked about whether a location had been chosen for a commercial launch site.

"We're also developing a launchpad on the south coast of Texas...We'll probably have that site active in a couple of years," Musk said, according to the Chron. Musk is just waiting for an environmental clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to reported comments he made at the press conference.

This led to breathless announcements that the SpaceX spaceport is definitely going to be in the Lone Star State. But to us this doesn't read like a glowing, ringing affirmation of a definite happening. Way down in the rather short story, the Chron does note that Musk's statement is "the clearest sign yet" that Brownsville will get the spaceport, and that's what we all need to keep in mind. A site isn't really built until it's built. Ships are unsinkable until they sink. Let's not count the spaceport eggs before they hatch.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.