SpaceX invests $43 million in new factory in Texas
SpaceX, currently headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., where it also builds its Falcon 9 rocket, submitted plans for a new building in Texas at the end of last month. First spotted by a Texas real estate building community, the plan outlines a 521,521-square-foot facility with an estimated cost of $43 million. SpaceX’s slightly larger 533,000-square-foot headquarters in Hawthorne raises the question of whether the company plans to move its headquarters to Texas or use the new building for other purposes, such as making satellites, Heat shield and/or engine.
The report from Sierra Azul Partners is linked to an Aug. 31 filing with Texas regulators that, according to details, likely came from SpaceX. The building’s owner is listed as “Deven Dreyer” at “1 Rocket Rock McGregor, Texas 76657” — as is the address of SpaceX’s Merlin 1D engine and Starship’s Raptor 2 engine test facility. Project costs for the new building are outlined at $43 million, and it will measure 521,521 square feet. For comparison, a baseball field is about 2,800 square feet, and SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, is 533,000 square feet.
The cost and size combined with the key role Texas will play in SpaceX’s future leads to several interesting possibilities for the new site. Neither SpaceX nor the construction companies listed for the project responded to Sierra Azul’s request for comment. The start date of the project is estimated to be in October and the end date is July 2023. It also lists the scope of work as “shell building”, which is just a term referring to the building’s exterior structure and provides no details about its internal layout. These details may vary depending on the intended use of the structure, for example, an office building will have a different layout compared to a manufacturing facility.
This document isn’t the first time we’ve seen a SpaceX-related situation in Texas. A job posting by the company last year revealed that SpaceX plans to build “millions” of Starlink user terminals and other consumer gadgets such as WiFi in the staterouter. Currently, SpaceX manufactures Starlink satellites and user terminals at its Washington facility, while routers are sourced from a contract manufacturer in Taiwan.
Since future Starlink satellites will be launched by Starship, SpaceX may also eventually move satellite production to Texas to reduce its shipping and shipping costs and time. The second-generation satellite is larger than the spacecraft currently in orbit, and the scale of the new building suggests it could eventually be a manufacturing plant.