Who Will Have The First Commercial Spaceport in Texas? Midland or Brownsville?

Who Will Have The First Commercial Spaceport in Texas? Midland or Brownsville?

It could be an international first here in West Texas, but that unprecedented takeoff could make an early departure.
MIDLAND, TX (Local Big 2 News) -- It could be an international first here in West Texas. The Midland International Airport looks to become the first commercial international spaceport, but now it could be in jeopardy. That unprecedented takeoff could make an early departure, as SpaceX announces plans to build a launch site elsewhere in the state, much like XCOR here in Midland.

When you think of the Tall City, a few things come to mind. Oil, big rigs and spaceport?

"We want to be known that we're going to be the first commercial international spaceport in the world," said Midland Mayor Jerry Morales.

XCOR plans to launch space planes from Midland International Airport, and they say the Basin will be the first to do so.

"Texas is excited to be able to bring a new industry, Permian Basin is very excited to be diversifying a little bit from our oil and gas," said Morales.

However, SpaceX plans on launching a commercial space site, also in the state. Located near Brownsville, and the city says it's also the world's first launch site.

"It is a commercial airport down there, but again ours is commercial international," said Morales.

I spoke with Andrew Nelson XCOR's Chief Operating Officer and he highlighted a few differences. He says SpaceX will takeoff with traditional style rockets.

"Brownsville in my understanding is just a vertical launch pad," said Morales.

Whereas Midland's spaceport will takeoff horizontally with space planes.

"Our spaceport designation is laying on top of an international, commercial international airport, so it's kind of layered on top," said Morales.

Nelson tells me there is no competition between the two companies, and XCOR thinks this is great news for the industry.

"We'll continue in Midland to work getting our designation," said Morales.

Mayor Morales told me Midland is in good shape.

"Everything is on track, on pace for the application to come through from the FAA," said Morales.
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