Although its corporate headquarters is located in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX has selected Los Angeles as the home of its new Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) manufacturing facility. According to Ars Technica, the aerospace manufacturing company will build the new facility on an 18-acre plot right outside of Long Beach. Here, SpaceX will perform research and development processes as well as manufacturing processes related to the BFR.
Given the high cost of real estate in Los Angeles, you might be wondering why SpaceX would choose this area for its upcoming manufacturing facility. While SpaceX has yet to announce its reasons for choosing this location, a document released by the Port of Los Angeles indicates that the company plans to transport the newly constructed BFRs via water. So, by building its new manufacturing facility near Long Beach, SpaceX can easily transport the BFRs without relying on land-based transportation methods.
Announced by CEO Elon Musk in 2017, the BFR is SpaceX’s next-generation rocket that includes a reusable vehicle. While still in development, Musk says the BFR will eventually replace the company’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the BFR its ability to be used multiple times. Traditional launch vehicle are good for one use. After propelling the shuttle, satellite or payload into orbit, the vehicle crashes down to Earth where the debris is collected and salvaged. The BFR, however, can be used multiple times, thus lowering the cost of launches.
The advent of the BFR could pave the way for new space exploration missions. More than a decade ago, Musk unveiled a personal goal of creating permanent human settlements on Mars. While that may sound like science fiction, SpaceX is already working towards achieving this goal, and the company’s new BFR manufacturing facility in Los Angeles is a step in the right direction.