A new neighbor moves into the neighborhood. This new neighbor states that he will be an asset to the community and professes to be a good neighbor. This new neighbor is SpaceX.
The residents of Boca Chica Village first learned of SpaceX’s plans at a public meeting in the spring of 2012. In the spring of 2013, hundreds of people showed up to another meeting, and company reps tried to reassure the few villagers who attended the meeting about being so close to a launch site. SpaceX said the residents would be OK, they wouldn’t even have to wear hearing protection. SpaceX wanted to be good neighbors, but then a few years later, letters came with contracts to these neighbors, offering homeowners a deal to buy their home.
SpaceX can’t force the residents to leave, but the county can. In 2013, county commissioners established a corporation “to assist in the promotion and development of a spaceport project” in Cameron County. Under Texas law, the corporation has the authority to exercise the same right that lets governments take over private property and compensate its owners.
Bait and switch? SpaceX originally built the coastal site for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, which are used to deploy satellites, but never used it for that purpose. The company is now seeking permission to use it as launch site for spacecraft that will carry people and cargo to the moon and mars, Federal Aviation Administration records show. The rocket launch site has gone far beyond the scope of its original permit, and the company’s plans threaten an environmentally sensitive wildlife corridor along the U.S.-Mexico border.
SpaceX, a good neighbor or opportunist and manipulator?