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Space X Breaks Ground For its Texas 'Spaceport'

Sep 22, 2014 04:58 PM EDT

Elon Musk and Governor Rick Perry broke ground in south Texas today, marking the start of construction for the world's first commercial spaceport.

As Musk's brainchild, the spaceport is an instrumental step in making the billionaire's private space company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a dominant name in the budding private space-travel industry.

When SpaceX was first granted approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to start contracting for the highly advanced spaceport's construction, Musk reiterated his hope that one day spaceports will be as busy as some commercial airports, sending cargo and passengers up to space stations and other destinations on a regular basis.

Today's groundbreaking marks the beginning of that dream becoming a reality, with SpaceX expecting to spend an estimated $100 million in Boca Chica Beach, Texas over the next three to four years of construction.

The idea of this Texas spaceport was reportedly three years in the making, with it first being discussed between the governor and Musk on a trip to California in 2011. Since then, Perry and Musk have worked hard to earn approvals across the board. Additionally, the Texas Enterprise Fund granted the project $2.3 million to get things started, as it is expected that the construction and the eventual port itself will bring at least 300 jobs to the state and create $85 million in capital investment. The State of Texas is also offering $13 million from the Spaceport Trust Fund to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp, who is deeply involved in the project.

"With today's groundbreaking at Boca Chica, we will begin an investment in South Texas that will create hundreds of jobs and over time contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy," Musk said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

"SpaceX is the latest in a long line of forward-thinking companies that have made Texas home, and I couldn't be prouder to help break ground on this revolutionary new facility," Perry added in a statement Monday. "It builds upon [Texas] pioneer heritage, our tradition of thinking bigger, dreaming bolder, and daring to do the impossible."

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