U.S. President Donald J. Trump's proposed border wall could cut a SpaceX facility in half, Democratic lawmakers said. A launchpad meant to propel rockets carrying humans to space sits in the middle of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard who heads the Homeland Security spending committee raised concerns over the 50-acre facility after she had seen the map showing a barrier running through a launchpad. She promised to ask for the area to be exempted from the planned wall.
"This issue with SpaceX is that the fence cuts right through their property and that's a problem," she said.
SpaceX's South Texas Launch Site
The facility in contention is a launch site located in Boca Chica, Texas. It sits on the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville.
The launch site is intended to be used exclusively by the private spaceflight company. SpaceX is currently using Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to launch rockets into space.
According to NASA Spaceflight, the Boca Chica launch site will initially support the test hopper — a prototype vehicle of the Starship, the company's giant rocket that will ferry passengers to the Moon and Mars someday.
Eventually, the Boca Chica launch site, as well as the Cape Canaveral launch site, will be used for operational Starship missions.
Deciding The Fate Of The SpaceX Launch Site
The private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk has not commented about the possibility of a border wall cutting through the launch site but, in a statement to the times, SpaceX denied that it has lobbied Congress on the border on the property or asked any lawmaker to do so on its behalf.
"The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently requested SpaceX permit access to our South Texas Launch site to conduct a site survey," explained James Gleeson, spokesman of SpaceX. "At this time, SpaceX is evaluating the request and is in communication with DHS to further understand their plans."
Negotiators continue to work out details of the border wall, including where the structure will be placed and how much will be allotted to build it. They are hoping to complete an agreement over the weekend so that the House and Senate can vote before the government funding runs out by next Friday, Feb. 15.