SpaceX will center its largest-scale operations not in its Los Angeles-area headquarters but in south Texas facilities, the company said today. Development of its next-generation Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle will take place in Texas, while Falcon 9 and Dragon work will remain at Hawthorne. The L.A. Times first reported the news.
The decision spells trouble for workers at the Hawthorne, CA facility where many of SpaceX’s work has been done heretofore — however it may also come as little surprise to those who have been following closely. The layoffs announced last week, the bulk of which are reportedly at Hawthorne, is logical considering the company’s shift away from development to operation and maintenance of the Falcon 9 system.
Initial plans had been for SpaceX to build at least some of its Starship and Super Heavy kit at the L.A. port and perform tests at the nearby Vandenberg Air Base. But as evident not just from today’s news, but the actual presence of the eye-catching steel hopper in Texas, that will no longer be the case.
SpaceX offered the following statement:
To streamline operations, SpaceX is developing and will test the Starship test vehicle at our site in South Texas. This decision does not impact our current manufacture, design, and launch operations in Hawthorne and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Additionally, SpaceX will continue recovery operations of our reusable Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft at the Port of Los Angeles.
It’s a soft way of saying that they’ll keep the old (but still very important and active) SpaceX stuff at Hawthorne but that it’s putting the rest of its eggs in the Texas basket.