A new SpaceX manufacturing facility planned for the Port of Los Angeles will be used to build the company’s much-anticipated Big Falcon interplanetary rockets, Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed Monday.
Speculation that the Hawthorne-based company could build vessels capable of reaching Mars in the city of Los Angeles had been growing since the Board of Harbor Commissioners signed off last month on a proposal for an enormous new building at land that SpaceX currently leases at the port.
The plans call for a 203,450-square-foot structure, flanked by 12,000-gallon tanks for storage of argon, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen. Its seaside location would be critical, as the rockets will be too large to transport on city streets and can instead be deposited directly onto barges.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk predicted in 2017 that the Big Falcon Rocket, designed for both interplanetary travel and lightning-fast travel between far-flung Earth cities, would be capable of reaching Mars by 2022.
In his annual state of the city address, Garcetti was more focused on the local impact of the technology. “This isn’t just about reaching into the heavens,” said the mayor. “It’s about creating jobs right here on Earth.”
According to plans for the new port facility, it would bring about 750 new jobs to LA’s harbor. Construction on the project is expected to take between 16 and 18 months.
Musk’s projects have proved popular with LA officials. City Councilmember Paul Koretz last week proposed expediting a proof-of-concept tunnel for the tech CEO’s proposed new transportation system beneath LA’s streets.