The Private Space Race

The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2012, if approved, will revert NASA’s spending to 2010 levels overall. This geek wonders if, as federal funds for space exploration shrink, commercial investment in space innovations will grow. If the previous couple years are any indication, the private space race is likely to heat up and reach new heights (hopefully low Earth orbit, most often referred to as LEO).

Two big names pioneering the privatization of the space flight industry, in particular, continue to make headlines. One such pioneer is Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, Calif.

SpaceX and the City of McGregor, Texas, have signed a lease agreement allowing SpaceX to expand the size of its rocket development facility in McGregor.

According to the agreement, SpaceX will lease 631 acres — the equivalent of almost 500 football fields — for its test facility. The new lease will more than double the size of the current 256-acre site on the Western edge of the City of McGregor and will last roughly 10 years, from February 2011 to January 31, 2021.

View of the large test stand, part of SpaceX’s rocket development facilities in McGregor, Texas.

View of the large test stand, part of SpaceX’s rocket development facilities in McGregor, Texas.

“Our Texas rocket development facility is critical to our operations,” explains Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief technology officer. “This lease will allow us to move forward on the growth we have planned for Texas. SpaceX already has more than $2.5 billion in launch contracts for us to carry out over the next few years — McGregor is going to be a very busy place.”

The McGregor city council voted unanimously to support the proposal on Friday, February 25, 2011.

This geek has much to say about another commercial space pioneer, Virgin Galactic. See my last blog for an update on the company, Sir Branson and his team, and SpaceShipTwo.

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Posted March 30th, 2011, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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Commented on October 30, 2011 at 5:27 am
By Mil/aero market health wrap up « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[...] latest NASA programs, for some of which NASA administrators have issued requests for proposals (RFPs) and other [...]

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