SpaceX

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

BROWNSVILLE — Calling South Texas the new frontier of space, Gov. Rick Perry, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other Texas officials broke ground Monday morning at the site of a future private commercial orbital launch facility expected to boost Brownsville’s economy and start launching rockets in 2016.

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

SpaceX

The state of Texas is offering $2.3 million to SpaceX, a commercial spaceflight company with plans to build a spaceport along the Gulf Coast.

The plan to build a rocket-launch facility in South Texas has been years in the making, and while there are still a few finishing touches to put on the plan, it looks like everyone is on board.

Yesterday, entrepreneur Elon Musk sauntered on to stage and unveiled his latest product: not a smart phone, but a spaceship.

SpaceX

The head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, says his commercial spacecraft company has had success in Texas with its rocket-testing facility in MacGregor and he likes the idea of building a Spaceport outside Brownsville.

Musk was in Austin Friday to talk with the Texas House Appropriations Committee.

Luke Quinton/KUT News

How big is a satellite? Well, that depends. The University of Texas’s Satellite Design Lab just won a competition for its “cube satellite.” So just how small is a cube?

“The dimensions of the spacecraft are essentially the size of a loaf of bread,” said Katharine Brumbaugh, a Ph.D. student at the satellite lab. Her team’s cube satellite, Armadillo, just won a competition run by the Air Force, beating out nine other universities in the “cubesat” category.

Update at 8:10 p.m. ET: Problem Fixed, Arrival Delayed

SpaceX says the problem with its unmanned craft carrying supplies for the International Space Station has been fixed.

Chris Thompson/ SpaceX

A 50-acre section of land near Brownsville is subject to speculation as a potential location of a new rocket launch site, to be built by private space exploration firm SpaceX

Three recent property purchases near the proposed site in Cameron County by SpaceX could mean that the company has, in fact, picked Texas over Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico to be home to its launch site.

The Brownsville Herald reports that public records in Cameron County show that SpaceX bought three pieces of property between June and September near the proposed site, under the name of Dogleg Park, LLC. The address listed for Dogleg Park on the deeds for these properties is the address of SpaceX’s Hawthorne, Calif. headquarters.

SpaceX has not yet commented on or released any statements about the purchased land.