A proposed SpaceX space station construction site near the Florida coast could help expand the company’s dreams of a human outpost on Mars, but there’s still a big hurdle to overcome.
The site near Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida has been in the works for some time, but was recently approved for construction by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The proposed site at Lake Worth Airport would house SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and the Falcon Heavy spacecraft.
It’s also a prime location for SpaceX’s next test flight, which is planned for late 2020 or early 2021.
According to a company release, the site is part of the company-managed space port at the port’s west terminal.
“Our goal is to have the SpaceX launch pad and launch complex ready for the launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle at the Lake Worth Space Port by the end of 2021,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a statement.
“This will provide the SpaceX team with a significant boost in the ability to support future missions, while also enhancing the Port’s attractiveness to the broader commercial space industry.”
The SpaceX facility at Lake Wollensky is expected to be fully operational by the mid-2020s.
Musk is hoping the site can support SpaceX’s plans for a manned station on Mars and an eventual landing on the Red Planet.
The SpaceX site could help accelerate SpaceX’s dream of a space station and a Mars colony.
But SpaceX hasn’t confirmed its plans for the site, or its potential use for the future space station.
In April, SpaceX revealed it planned to test-fly its Falcon 9 first stage on the SpaceX property and said it would “provide a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Falcon 9 v1.1.”
The company also said the first stage would be deployed from the rocket in 2021.
But as of the end in June, SpaceX had not provided a timeline for its next test-flight, or even an estimate of when it would land the first Falcon 9.
SpaceX’s future plans have been in question since a series of mysterious explosions in the late 1990s left the site temporarily closed.
At that time, the company said the site was “not operational.”
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment about why the site remained closed.
In November, SpaceX said it was considering whether to build the site for the next Falcon 9 launch, but it later changed course and said its plans were still in flux.
SpaceX is currently planning for a Falcon 9 demonstration flight that would occur in 2020, but the company has not said how it would do that.
The next test flights would likely be at the SpaceX pad, not the SpaceX facility, so SpaceX will need to wait for the Falcon’s arrival to be cleared for flights.
In 2018, SpaceX received a permit to test fly its Falcon Heavy rocket, but a Falcon Heavy test flight never occurred.
SpaceX still has plans for an unmanned mission to the International Space Station.