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SpaceX Negotiating with Port of Los Angeles on Manufacturing Expansion

The Los Angeles Times (3/19, Masunaga) reports that SpaceX has begun “preliminary negotiations” with the Port of Los Angeles on a “lease that would expand” the company’s facilities there to accommodate the manufacture of “large commercial transportation vehicles.” Neither port nor company officials would “comment on what exactly would be built on the 18-acre site on Terminal Island, but public documents suggest that it will involve rockets or spacecraft.”

SpaceX constructs its rockets in Hawthorne, California, and plans to debut its next-generation BFR rocket, which eventually will replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners “voted last week to approve California Environmental Quality Act regulations necessary for the board to later vote on a lease for the proposed project.” In addition to “research and development of transportation vessels” and manufacturing such as welding, painting and assembly operations, the lease would also accommodate SpaceX “recovery operations…to bring to shore vehicles returning from space that are retrieved by an autonomous drone ship offshore.”

Bloomberg News (3/19, Hull) reports that SpaceX currently “leases 8.1 acres of land and water from the port.”