SpaceX plans to build its massive BFR rocket boosters and spacecraft at a new factory in the Port of Los Angeles, officials announced this week
The Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, confirmed Monday in a state www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…=view&id=167 Address that SpaceX will be producing its Big Falcon Rocket at a Los Angeles harbor location.
"This vehicle promises to bring humanity deeper into the cosmos than ever before," added Garcetti on Twitter
SpaceX and port officials have used a 19-acre waterway in the harbor since 2015 by the aerospace company discussed and the parties concluded the negotiations last month. The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners Approved Agreement with SpaceX Thursday
SpaceX's massive new rocket will reach almost 106 meters (106 feet) in height and 30 meters (9 meters) in diameter, according to Elon Musk last year ,
The reusable vehicle will come in two pieces.
A booster stage, powered by 31 methane-fueled Raptor engines, will produce nearly 12 million pounds of thrust and be able to return to Earth for vertical propulsion landings, such as SpaceX's existing Falcon missiles. An upper stage, which also serves as an interplanetary transporter, will carry people, supplies, satellites and huge fuel tanks that can be filled in space.
Bruce McHugh, SpaceX Construction and Real Estate Director, told the Board of Harbor Commissioners Thursday that the 19-acre Berth 240 site "is the perfect place to build our big rocket."
SpaceX investigated potential factory locations in Southern California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas before settling at the Los Angeles location, Michael DiBernardo, Deputy Managing Director of Marketing and Customer Relations for the airport.
McHugh said SpaceX needs a water-access location because the BFR is too big to be transported on trucks as the company is currently moving its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy Boosters. A barge will pick up the BFR booster and the upper stage, also known as Big Falcon Spaceship, and transport them to their test areas and launch pad.
The design of the giant vehicle is still at an early stage and SpaceX has originally re-designed its mega launcher in 2016 and 2017 with a smaller rocket than Musk. But the BFR – in its current iteration – dwarfs all currently in size and ability to fly missiles, and would be about the same size as NASA's Saturn 5 moon rocket, while producing nearly twice as much boost when taking off as the Apollo-era launcher developed in the 1960s Years
"We do not know exactly what we're building, but we know it's big, and we know it can not be loaded with trucks," McHugh said Thursday. "That's why this place has enough land, it's near the water and we know we can produce our product there."
SpaceX is already renting land in the Port of Los Angeles as the basis for the Company's recovery fleet to enter the Pacific Ocean to pick up Dragon Capsules returning from the International Space Station and fire rocket accelerators and payload fairings from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles ,
SpaceX headquarters and current manufacturing facility is Hawthorne, California, approximately 24 kilometers north of the port.
McHugh said SpaceX intends to build an 80,000 square foot (80,000 square foot), 80 meter high (24 meter) production hangar, the 240 berth within about a year.
"If we add it, it will be a building with a total area of 18,000 square feet, assuming that everything works out for us," said McHugh. "We're building a ship that's never been built, we're doing research and technology that was never done."
"We're also doing it in a parallel way. We are working on the means and methods of how to build this product. So far it will be a compound type rocket. "
McHugh said that there are currently about 20 engineers and 20 production technicians working on the BFR project, and by the time the BFR is ready for full production in about three to five years, McHugh estimates that in the new factory 700 people will work.
"Elon wants it a lot faster, but I think it's three five years," McHugh said.
Musk was known for making optimistic plans, and last year dropped a " ambitious "target to prepare the BFR for a robotic mission on Mars by 2022 and for a human journey by 2024. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer, said the BFR could be ready for Earth orbit test flights last month.
McHugh said that missiles built in the Port of Los Angeles will be transported to Cape Canaveral for launch through the Panama Canal
SpaceX officials have said that early in the last few months Atmospheric testing of the BFR's spaceship portion could start next year, probably on the company's South Texas launch site, which is still under construction.
"The ship's part is by far the hardest because it will come from superorbital speeds, such as interplanetary Mars transfer speeds, moon transfer speeds," Musk said last month. "These are much more difficult than coming from Earth orbit."
The high-speed return of the spaceship will amplify the ship's heat shield and structure over the temperatures and pressures of a capsule entering the atmosphere from Earth orbit, or through a barometric pressure test
"Testing this ship is really difficult Part, "Musk said on February 6. "The booster, I think – I do not want to get complacent – but I think we understand reusable booster reusable spaceships that can land propelled, that's harder – we start with the difficult part first."
The spaceship design, unveiled the Musk in September, had a collection of six Raptor engines – he later said the ship could have seven engines – and methane and liquid oxygen tanks that contained nearly a quarter. Million tons (1,100 metric tons) of cryogenic fuels for space burns and landing maneuvers. The spacecraft would have a length of 157 feet (48 meters) and have an internal pressure volume above that of an Airbus A380 Jumbo jet, enough room for 40 passenger cabins.
Musk unveiled a tool used to build BFR's interplanetary spacecraft in an Instagram post April 8.
SpaceX will pay the Port of Los Angeles $ 1.38 million a year under its lease for berth 240
Email to the author
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .