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Original Story: Going Private, Space Industry Eyes State’s Open Spaces

  • As NASA’s space program winds down, Texas is seeking to attract private space exploration and technology companies to the state.
    • XCOR Aerospace plans to set up rocket test facilities in Midland next year and could eventually invest $12 million a year in payroll there.
    • SpaceX is evaluating a launchpad site near Brownsville and expanding a rocket-testing facility in McGregor; SpaceX’s facilities are expected to contribute $50 million in annual salaries to the area.
    • Blue Origin has a launchpad in West Texas.
  • Texas has not yet offered financial incentives; open space, low business taxes, and a strong financial/technology base for space-related businesses (thanks in large part to NASA’s presence) have been enough to attract business so far.
  • Because space-related businesses need, well, space, they’re also able to tap into the state’s rural development programs, aimed at bringing business to economically challenged areas.
  • Texas’s southern location is also attractive, because rockets can be launched faster closer to the equator.
  • Environmental groups are concerned about the impact of a growing aerospace business on the state’s rare and endangered species; Environment Texas has filed a petition against the SpaceX site in Brownsville.
  • Other states seeking to attract private space enterprises include Florida, Alabama, California, New Mexico, and Virginia.
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