SpaceX is hiring a Spaceport resort developer for its Texas rocket factory

CEO Elon Musk says that SpaceX wants to reuse its first flight-proven Starship prototype. (SpaceX)

SpaceX has big plans to ferry travelers to Mars in the near future, and part of that venture looks to include luxury accommodations while customers spend time with the company on Earth. A recent job board posting for a “Resort Development Manager” has come to light, specifically referring to a project at the launch provider’s Boca Chica Village location in Texas.

“SpaceX is committed to developing this town into a 21st century Spaceport. We are looking for a talented Resort Development Manager to oversee the development of SpaceX’s first resort from inception to completion,” the posting states. Notably, SpaceX is looking for candidates with experience in “high end brand luxury development,” which is perhaps a nod towards the types of customers the company expects to attract.

A small coastal community located on Texas’s southernmost tip, Boca Chica Village is where SpaceX has been developing and testing the company’s Mars-bound rocket named Starship. Facility development at the site has gone quite fast over the last few months, as is the usual Elon Musk-led company fashion, featuring new semi-automated welding machines, upgraded production equipment, and two massive sprung structures (i.e. tents). A ramp in hiring also began in February this year, including a career day to staff production shifts for 24/7 operations.

Starship at Boca Chica. (Image: BocaChicaGal/NasaSpaceflight)

SpaceX’s rocket factory in Texas has gained a bit of notoriety since moving into the area, specifically when a Starship prototype (SN4) exploded following a static fire test in May this year. However, it looks as though most of the (literal) kinks have been worked out, culminating in a picture-perfect hop test last week. This latest test was preceded by several several prototype and tank tests, and SpaceX is now quickly moving forward with yet another prototype (SN8) build from a different steel alloy altogether.

The Texas and Florida-based rocket maker specifically labeling its new project as a Spaceport may be related to a goal Musk previously referenced. “SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth,” the CEO stated on Twitter in June. He was replying to a tweet describing yet another job board posting, this one for “Offshore Operations Engineers” to work at the Texas site.

Starship SN5 hop debut 080420 (SpaceX)

SpaceX published concepts for floating launch facilities in 2017 which measured at least 300m (1000 ft) long and about 100m (330 ft) wide, and they are assumed to be the floating ports in question. The size of the intended rockets to be serviced on the pads would also hint towards being several miles off shore for safety purposes. But in another interesting difference, including the “Resort” in the most recent job description may further indicate either an expansion to the rocket island concept or a separate project entirely.

A comparable destination may be Spaceport America, the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world, located in New Mexico. That facility comprises 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, a 12,000 foot runway, and vertical launch complexes to support multiple customers needing aerospace testing and launch capabilities. Visitors may only come for guided tours of the Spaceport, however, as it’s closed off to the public for a variety of legal and security reasons. If SpaceX’s Spaceport has similar restrictions, perhaps the Resort will be for space-bound customers and business relations only.

Every autumn since the 2016 International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Musk has presented an annual update on the status of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship launch vehicle. The tradition looks to be continued this September, as indicated in a recent tweet by the CEO, despite challenges brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. Details about future Resort plans will hopefully be provided at that time.

Dacia J. Ferris: Accidental computer geek, fascinated by most history and the multiplanetary future on its way. Quite keen on the democratization of space. | It's pronounced day-sha, but I answer to almost any variation thereof.
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