Space Architecture

Monday, July 31, 2006

Spaceports in Texas

There has been news chatter in the past few weeks, regarding two spaceports that could be built here in Texas. One near Van Horn, and the other near Brazoria. Van Horn is way out in west Texas, far away from most populated places. One drives past it, on I-10, between El Paso and San Antonio. Brazoria is just south of Houston. Maybe not quite commuting distance from Houston, especially if you live in the more northern parts of the city.

Each site has its logic. Van Horn is definitely out in the middle of nowhere, far from populated areas. However, if these spaceports employ more than a few hundred people, the population of Van Horn (and the surrounding area) would increase dramatically. Getting people to move out there might also be an issue. If two positions were available, one in Van Horn, and one in Brazoria, with equal pay, etc, I would definitely look at Brazoria.

Brazoria is right next to the Gulf of Mexico. It's on the southern fringe of the Houston metro area. People will move out there, in all likelihood, with or without the spaceport. Whereas Van Horn may have a dearth of people, Brazoria may have a surplus. I hope that if the spaceport is Brazoria, it be built right on the water. That way, the launches can take the vehicle right over the water.

Having launches over water may make for better rescue opportunities, in the event of an aborted launch. NASA already has landing sites just in case the Shuttle needs to make an emergency landing during launch.