SpaceX, the private rocket company of high tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, won final approval on Tuesday to build a research and manufacturing plant for its deep-space Starship project on a tract of vacant land at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles City Council granted a permit for the facility by a unanimous 12-0 vote, paving the way for Musk, also the founder of Tesla Inc electric car company, to proceed with the accelerated development of a new spacecraft and rocket system designed to carry humans to the moon and Mars, Reuters reported.
Operations at the facility will actually be confined to research, design, and fabrication of aerospace components. Space vehicles built there are not permitted for launch but will be transported out of the port complex by barge or ship.
According to Reuters, the Los Angeles Port site will bring further Starship development closer to SpaceX’s headquarters in the L.A. suburb of Hawthorne, where it has manufactured its workhorse Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon crew capsules.
As designed, the Starship itself is actually the top half of a colossal interplanetary rocket system that will stand 387 feet (118 meters) tall and be capable of ferrying dozens of humans to the moon and Mars in a single launch.