SpaceX claims it has $800M impact in Cameron County

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According to numbers provided to Cameron County by SpaceX, the company’s Starbase rocket production and testing complex at Boca Chica is having a big economic impact, generating more than $800 million in state and local government capital income and indirect business tax revenue, for instance.

The company, which conducted its fourth Starship orbital test flight from Boca Chica on June 6, has in excess of 350 acres of land there, including more than 222,000 square feet set aside for manufacturing and over 20,000 square feet for “vehicle high and medium bays” — tall, narrow buildings inside which the Starship and Super Heavy test vehicles are assembled.

SpaceX said it has invested more than $3 billion in infrastructure at Starbase, which the company said has an annual gross economic market value of 6.5 billion. SpaceX said it is building another 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and 329,000 square feet of office space at a cost of $400 million.

The company said it has spent over $90 million for goods and services provides by 80-plus Rio Grande Valley businesses since January 2023, and that Starbase indirectly supports more than 21,400 jobs in the community. Starbase itself employs over 3,400 full-time employees and contractors, SpaceX said.

Rocket launches from Boca Chica also have an economic impact, according to the company, which said more than 11,000 have come to the Valley for a single Starship launch — it didn’t say which one or how it arrived at that figure — and that 20,000 tourists and 16,500 “official visitors” traveled to the region in 2023 to see Starbase and/or launches. SpaceX conducted its first two Starship test flights from Boca Chica in April and December of last year.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. thanked the company for its “direct investment in the communities and school districts throughout Cameron County and for helping put south Texas on the map.”

Although SpaceX is located in unincorporated territory within the county, its presence has benefited all cities in the county through an increase in tourism and new job opportunities, he said.

“We look forward to additional growth and investment in the future as SpaceX carries on their mission to explore space, return us to the moon and colonize Mars,” Treviño said.

He said SpaceX’s vision for Boca Chica has always been ambitious — the site broke ground nearly a decade ago — and that the company’s later decision to build and launch Starship there has made for significant investment in recent years.

SpaceX’s vision in Cameron County has always been ambitious, and with the company’s shift to build and launch the Starship spacecraft, the largest rocket ever built, SpaceX’s investment in Cameron County has been significant in recent years.

“As SpaceX and other new industries establish successful operations in Cameron County, additional investment in the form of high-paying jobs, infrastructure and commerce will continue to follow,” Trevino said.

Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, wrote on X recently that SpaceX is hoping to conduct the fifth Starship orbital test flight as soon as late July.