SpaceX Expanding Texas Location; Adds 300 Jobs

Waco City Council will vote Tuesday to grant permission to SpaceX expanding Texas Location. Commissioners could allocate upwards of $1.5m in incentives to the Hawthorne, California-based company. If approved, the measure would bring the American private space transportation company’s total subsidies to $3m.

Once committed, SpaceX expanding in Texas will cost $46m in real estate and equipment. What began in April 2011 as a 300 acre test site grew three times as large by 2013, containing 11 rocket test platforms. SpaceX expanding in Texas would bring the size of the McGregor location to over 4,000 acres and add 300 jobs.

Following their use on a space mission, Dragon spacecraft are sent to McGregor for cleanup and refurbishment for future missions. It’s at this location where the SpaceX does the majority of its noisy, dirty and critical testing.

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Dragon spacecraft is the partially reusable crafts developed by SpaceX. In December 2010, Dragon became the first successfully recovered commercial spacecraft to enter orbit. In May of 2012, a Dragon craft made its first rendezvous with the International Space Station. Since October of 2012 SpaceX has been contracted to deliver cargo under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. Development of the Dragon v2 is underway, which will support a crew of seven astronauts.

SpaceX Expanding in Texas; Doubling in Size

SpaceXSpaceX employs 261 full-time staffers at the McGregor locations. SpaceX expanding in Texas and receiving taxpayer funding is contingent on adding 240 positions that must go to residents of McLennan County. Starting pay will average $60,000 a year and include benefits packages. These jobs are scheduled to affect the economy by 2018.

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There were no specific comments given by central planners. However, central manager Kevin Evans had this to say about SpaceX,

“They are one of the best corporate citizens I’ve ever been associated with… For us, this is the company of the future.”

SpaceX is a cornerstone of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk‘s empire. With significant investments from the proceeds of earlier companies, Musk founded his third company in 2002. In seven years, SpaceX designed a rocket/spacecraft package from the ground up. In 2009, SpaceX became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit. Musk is also the founder of American electric car company Tesla Motors and SolarCity, the second largest provider of solar power in the United States.

Images from NASA and SpaceX.