SpaceX obtained the approval to build a new factory where to develop the technology necessary to take manned missions Lua and Mars. If all goes as planned, the future facilities of the company led by Elon Musk will be located in one of the segments of the port of Los Angeles for the next 10 years.
The factory will be closer to the SpaceX headquarters in the city, where it built the Falcon 9 rocket and capsules for the Crew Dragon mission. Although launches are not permitted in the new installation, the fact that it is part of the port allows sea transport to an appropriate location. The factory is expected to create 130 new jobs, Reuters says.
Two years ago, SpaceX managed to obtain a similar license, but canceled its original plans. The company ended up developing the first phase of the Starship project, as well as testing the Starhopper prototype at its facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.
SpaceX continues, however, to work to obtain the necessary licenses for further tests of the spacecraft that will travel to Mars. By mid-March of this year, the company wants to test the Starship's Raptor engines at a higher altitude than usual and then be able to land it on firm ground to prove that it can be reused when it lands on other planets. SpaceX recently showed the new prototype of Starship, saying that the tests would begin within months.
It is recalled that in October 2019, SpaceX facilities received a visit from Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and Elon Musk brought him up to speed on the progress, confirming that Crew Dragon was about to begin astronaut transport operations, from American soil in early 2020.
In January of this year, SpaceX was able to successfully carry out a test on the mission's emergency system, managing to obtain NASA certification for the beginning of piloted tests. The next step is to do a manned test with Demo-2, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. On board the Crew Dragon, I will follow NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will be the test pilots of the capsule.