The Los Angeles City Council has approved a permit that allows U.S. private space company SpaceX to use a site at the Port of Los Angeles to build its Mars aerospace parts, local media reported Wednesday.
With the vote, SpaceX is now cleared to start work at the site.
SpaceX representatives told Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office that the company was interested in the port site because it needed additional manufacturing capacity for its Starship spaceship and rocket booster, according to Los Angeles Times.
The site will be used for engineering, manufacturing and research and development work on Starship, Buscaino was quoted as saying.
In 2018, the company said it would build its Mars rocket and spaceship at the port and got approval from the Board of Harbor Commissioners and the Los Angeles City Council to lease that same swath of land on Terminal Island of the port. A year later, SpaceX changed its mind and moved the work to Texas, citing a need to “streamline operations.”
Currently the company is building prototypes of the Starship system at its facility near Boca Chica Beach in south Texas, and has refreshed its plans to build giant rocket parts in a California port.
The initial permit covers about 12.4 acres (0.05 sq km) at the former Southwest Marine site at Terminal Island, with an option to increase to 19 acres, according to Los Angeles Times. SpaceX has said it will refurbish some of the buildings there and may also add a temporary tent-like structure. Enditem