back to article Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT

Elon Musk has taken another step in his transformation into James Bond supervillain, with the FAA granting SpaceX approval to start building its own spaceport in Texas. The FAA has issued a “Record of Decision” (PDF here) stating its support for the issuing of licenses to SpaceX. The facility, to be built near Brownsville, …

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who needs a spaceport when i've got a lair . . . in a volcano . . . with sharks . . . with lasers on their heads!

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This reminds me of Neal Stevenson's discussion about the point when (nearly) every guy realises that not only is he not Batman, but in fact he is *never* going to be a serious martial-arts stunt-drivin two-AKs badass. Usually late adolescence, but sometimes delayed for quite a while.

The corresponding case here is the point when an engineering graduate realises that he is never going to have his own personal fleet of nuclear-capable interstellar craft. Musk isn't there yet, and I hope that I never am either.

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I would not be so sure

At this rate he will be commanding a nuclear driven (armed with ion cannons, kinetic hypervelocity armament and lasers) fleet before he reaches retirement age.

The only question is when he is going to purchase an island with a volcano on it.

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Happy

Re: I would not be so sure

Given Musk's known streak of geeky humor?...... Soon™... ;)

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Re: I would not be so sure

Island? Purchase? He's aiming to put people on Mars, home of the largest volcano in the solar system! :-)

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Happy

In the unlikely event I ever get to meet this guy

I just HAVE to say: "Finally we meet, mr. Musk"

But he will probably be tired of that joke by then. You just have to love his attitude (witness the wry humour "AKA KABOOM") and results

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Devil

All they

after with the current Falcon 9 launches is that the first stage can decend and land softly

If they can do that a few times over water where the kaboomy stuff does'nt really matter, then they'll go for landing the first stage on land.

Then they'll fine tune it so that it can land back in the volcano lair Mr Musk is undoubtedly building somewhere in the world away from prying eyes.......

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Confused on the motivation...

Did his space rockets get stuck in the traffic of all the other rockets that take off from there? Or is this about getting the launch site closer to where the rockets are produced?

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Re: Confused on the motivation...

No. It is about being independent of NASA's facilities, and not having to wrangle around for launch slots. Besides that, he needs his own site, as NASA will most definitely throw a fit if he tries to land his rockets at their facilities...

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Re: Confused on the motivation...

The USAF tracking range is still from the '50s, since Congress won't give funds to keep it running, much less upgrade it.

A bloke has to drive around in a truck to all the sites to reconfigure them between launches. This is why it sometimes takes 2 or 3 days of nothing happening between launches despite the manifest being stacked to overflow.

There was a fire recently in one of the radars. NOBODY, including a billion-dollar top-priority spysat could launch FOR A WEEK-AND-A-HALF until they tracked down '50s-vintage parts for it.

And STILL neither Congress nor the USAF will fund upgrades to at least bring it into this century.

That's just one example of the idiocy at the Cape and the sort of thing Musk wants to run away from as fast as possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Confused on the motivation...

Texas and it's citizens benefit with having a major company build in Texas and employ Texans. New jobs, new revenue streams.

Any state would L O V E this kind of news/development.

I guess it's just easier for SpaceX to have its own facility and not have to worry about using the governments/NASA's. Heck, I'd go that way as well. The less the government is involved, the better it is for everyone involved IMO. They tend to muck things up as they have zero logic with it comes to running things these days.

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evs

Re: Confused on the motivation...

Tons of reasons. To reach the cadence they are lookng for (twice a month or more), they need much more control of their facilities (more prep areas, more/better launch equipment etc). I think Boca Chica has better weather than Kennedy so fewer weather delays. Multiple ranges may reduce weather & range delays. As they go commercial, a private facility will provide better protection of trade secrets.

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Re: Confused on the motivation...

There's little point in upgrading something that won't be needed two years from now. Have an onboard GPS system trigger the self-destruct if it isn't where the flight plan says it should be. NASA is currently testing such a system. And I read somewhere that SpaceX is very interested.

Why the twenty year lease of Pad 39A? It surely won't take that long for Musk's private spaceport to be up and running?

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Launch was 100% succesfull...

All 6 satellites were release to the correct orbit.

The bonus feature, booster return, well, the jury is still out on how well that went. Not yet enough information to know what happened.

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Anonymous Coward

Kaboom

Hmm - at what temperature is the nozzle when it touches the water?

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Alien

I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

As the Gruadian has it, "Six of the venues under consideration lie north of the Scottish border, where the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) named Campbeltown airport, home of the Mull of Kintyre music festival, and Glasgow Prestwick airport,...The other Scottish sites are Kinloss barracks, a former Nimrod patrol base; RAF Lossiemouth, a home for fast jets; RAF Leuchars and Stornoway airport on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides."

I assume Ryanair will provide connecting flights from London Stornoway and that all is subject to the Scotland remaining within Great Britain. They will need to remove all the skinny guys in tracksuits to avoid scaring aliens but the Commonwealth Games should be over by then anyway.

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

"Glasgow Prestwick airport,"

Putting Holyrood under the downrange abort path. Oops, sorry about your government guys. Would you like to be governed by Westminster while you rebuild?

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

Why choose the bit of mainland UK which is furthest from the equator? Cornwall would make more sense.

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

Ascension Island will make even more sense - less than 8 degrees from the equator.

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

Sorry but Ascension Island was recently purchased by Elon Musk a secret buyer, who was apparently quite taken with the island's volcano.

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

I'm just buying a house within 10 minutes drive from Leuchars. Can't decide whether the geeky "Whoa, I could be living near a spaceport!" or the timid "Whoa, I could be living near a spaceport!" should win out. It doesn't matter though - Mrs IP will make us move (again) if they do choose the site on the basis of noise - though I doubt there will be many places within a reasonable distance from her work that would be immune from the crackly roar of rocket engines ...

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Re: I read today the UK is planning a spaceport in Scotland

...and thye recently upgraded runway for heavy lifters.

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