Source : Brownsville Herald
With the stroke of a pen on Friday, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law legislation allowing for the temporary closure of part of Boca Chica beach during SpaceX launch windows. The legislation, House Bill 2623, allows for the beach to be closed except for holiday and weekends during the summer. An exception is made in the event a launch scrub results in a delay running over into either exclusion, and SpaceX can show that it would suffer “significant adverse business consequences.” as a result.
With the bill now signed into law, and an environmental review in the rearview mirror as well, the Lone Star State would appear to stretching its lead over Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico as the home for the SpaceX’s planned commercial launch facility. It also cannot hurt that Texas Senator Ted Cruz has emerged as a clear supporter of the commercial space industry, a marked change from the position taken by his predecessor, the now retired Kay Bailey Hutchison whose devotion to the Space Launch System was often expressed in derisive opposition to commercial space. With Cruz now the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Science and Space, (which also includes Florida Senator Marco Rubio) which has NASA oversight, Texas may be aligning behind NewSpace in a major way.
Don’t count Florida out entirely however. Now that NASA has put Pad 39A up for lease at the Kennedy Space Center, it is quite possible that SpaceX could hedge its bets and decide to utilize that infrastructure for early East coast Falcon Heavy launches rather than SLC-40 which is only a few miles away. It seems a safe assumption that the Air Force would not be all that enthusiastic about DoD flights out of a commercial space center like that which SpaceX hopes to build, whereas the KSC infrastructure is both set up to handle national security payloads, and did so on early Shuttle flights. If SpaceX does go that route, the real reason could be not the Falcon Heavy, but what is potentially coming behind it, a much larger Super Heavy Lift.
Though only speculative, and years away in any event, the barge canal and turning basin, which have served the Saturn V and Shuttle programs offer a key piece of infrastructure if SpaceX ultimately decides to build a mega rocket, but for whatever reason does not want to build it on site, as would likely be the case in Texas. As such a Falcon Heavy bid for Pad 39A could be used as a holding action for that eventuality.