HOUSTON, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- SpaceX will build the world's first private commercial rocket launch facility in the U.S. state of Texas, the company and Texas officials announced Monday, with launches as early as 2015.
"SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world's first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions," the space exploration company founder Elon Musk said in a statement.
Texas Governor Rick Perry confirmed the news in a press release, saying, "Texas has been on the forefront of our nation's space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight."
The launchpad will be located on a remote beach near Brownsville, a coastal city that lies at the southernmost tip of Texas.
The state will offer 15.3 million U.S. dollars in incentives to SpaceX, 13 million dollars of which will come from a special state fund designed to build infrastructure for projects such as this. An additional 2.3 million dollars will come from the Texas Enterprise Fund, a deal-closing pool of money aimed at attracting new businesses.
The proposed 56.5-acre launch site could blast up to 12 rockets a year into space, including two Falcon 9 Heavy rockets which could begin flying in 2015. These launches would be for commercial, and potentially NASA, purposes.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. It's also the first private company to attach a spacecraft to the International Space Station, exchange cargo payloads and return safely to Earth.
Under a 1.6 billion-dollar contract with NASA, SpaceX will fly numerous cargo resupply missions to the ISS, totalling at least 12, and in the near future carry crew as well.