Facepalm: Among SpaceX’s facilities the Texas launchpad is one of their most essential – it’s where they’ll test and plan for the first manned mission to Mars. So, it came as a surprise when Democrats noticed the launchpad literally had a wall down the middle of it on a Homeland Security map.
President Trump’s wall will repurpose a large amount of land on America’s southern border, but some parts are more essential than others. “This issue with SpaceX is that the fence cuts right through their property and that’s a problem,” said Lucille Roybal-Allard, who heads the Homeland Security spending committee.
Moving the facility would cost $100 million and another five years, which would not only wreak havoc on SpaceX but the local economy as well. SpaceX received $20 million in benefits to put the launchpad in Boca Chica (near Brownsville) due to the struggling economy which needed the 500 jobs it brought.
Democratic Representative Filemon Vela told Bloomberg that SpaceX isn’t happy but hasn’t raised objections nor spoken to Congress about the matter. "They are way behind the scenes on this, they are lying pretty low," said Vela. "SpaceX doesn’t want to offend the Department of Homeland Security."
When asked, SpaceX commented that Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection want access to the site to survey it. “At this time, SpaceX is evaluating the request and is in communication with DHS to further understand their plans.” Neither Homeland Security nor Customs and Border Protection has commented on the matter.
Send me hot pics & I’ll be right over https://t.co/ld2VDbF0Wh— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 9, 2019
This raises the question, does a highly secure launch facility really require a border wall to stop people walking through it? Probably not, says Vela and Roybal-Allard, who have crafted a letter to Republicans adding the site to the list of areas that should be exempt from the wall.
It seems at this point, SpaceX is waiting for construction workers to come knocking on the door before acting. That’s probably not a bad idea, given that the area is likely to be one of the last to get the wall, if at all.