The port of Los Angeles will be the designated location for the development of a BFR rocket and a spaceship system after voting Commissioners with a board that governs the Harbor gave a unanimous vote for the program on Thursday.
The approval came on the heels of an earlier announcement made by city mayor Eric Garcetti, informing the public that SpaceX would soon begin construction on a large-scale project at the Southwest Marine Shipyard.
Bruce McHugh, who directs construction for SpaceX estimates that the project could take as long as three years to complete. McHugh also explained that once the spaceship is placed on top of the rocket that the combined height of the two pieces of machinery could measure more than 340 feet high.
McHugh had earlier explained to the commissioners at a meeting that the rocket will measure 35 feet across and be constructed from composite materials. McHugh went on to explain that the size of the spaceship and rocket will require that they are transported with the use of barge along a route traveling through the Panama Canal on its way to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the rocket and spaceship will be readied for launch.
Chief executive for SpaceX, Elon Musk, says that the BFR is slated to replace earlier rocket models used by SpaceX. BFR is said to be key to the company’s future plans to one day colonize the planet of mars. BFR is also expected to be used for moon missions.
The initial lease of the 19-acre area at the port by SpaceX will have a ten-year duration with two additional options which are also ten years each. The base rent SpaceX will pay is $1.38 million and will be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index. A provision of the contract will also allow SpaceX the ability to offset more than $44 million in rent by making approvements to the site within 20 years of inhabiting the location.
SpaceX first approached the port with the proposal to use the site to build the rocket and spaceship in 2015. Locations in both Texas and Louisiana were also considered.
The site at Terminal Island has not been in use since 2005 and was once used to construct WWII era Navy vessels reports the Los Angeles Conservatory.