SpaceX has put forward plans to build a massive BFR spaceship and rocket booster inside its new factory at the Los Angeles port. The Big Falcon rocket which holds the promise of taking human beings more deep into space will be developed at this site.
The port officials and SpaceX have discussed the use of a 19-acre waterfront at the harbor since 2015, and the lease negotiations had been wrapped up last month. The agreement with SpaceX has been approved on Thursday by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.
According to the founder of the company, Elon Musk, this new gigantic rocket of SpaceX will be about 106 meters tall and will span about 9 meters in diameter. This vehicle which is reusable comes in two pieces. A booster stage which is powered by 31 engines (methane-fueled Raptor) will produce a thrust of 12 million pounds and will be capable of returning to Earth for vertical landings like that of the Falcon rockets of SpaceX. The second part is an upper stage that will also act as an interplanetary transporter which will carry supplies, people, satellites and big propellant tanks which can be refilled.
SpaceX was in need of a location with access to water as the BFR is too big to be transported on a truck as the Falcon 9 and its heavy boosters are currently moved by the company. The BFR booster and the upper stage will be picked by a barge (also known as Big Falcon spacecraft) to transport them to the launch pad and other test sites. The design of the spacecraft is still in developing stage and will be a revised version of its mega-launchers in 2016 and 2017.
SpaceX’s current manufacturing site and headquarters are in Hawthorne, California, which is around 24 kilometers north of the port. The plan is to build a 7,400-square-meter, 24-meter tall fabrication hangar within a year at the Berth 240 location. After the whole construction is over it will be a total of 18,600-square-meter. Even though the design of the ship has 6 Raptor engines, there are plans to expand it to seven. The spacecraft will be 48 meters long and will have an internal pressurized cabin larger than Airbus A380 jumbo jet, and will have a big space which can easily accommodate up to 40 passenger cabins.