Elon Musk's Hawthorne-based SpaceX is joining the aerospace hub in Long Beach with a new 6.5 acre facility.
The facility will sit on the port of a former U.S. Navy complex site and open May 1, according to statements from the mayor's office. The sublease was approved Monday. SpaceX did not immediately respond to comment.
The aerospace giant that last week won a $2.9 billion NASA contract to work on sending astronauts to the moon will join a roster of space companies in Long Beach including Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, Boeing, Relativity Space and SpinLaunch.
We are excited to announce and welcome @SpaceX to Long Beach. SpaceX is moving into 6.5 acres at the Port of Long B… https://t.co/PQH2ArCJAu— Robert Garcia (@Robert Garcia)1619475030.0
Long Beach-based aerospace companies comprise about 6,500 jobs, the mayor's office said in the statement.
"We have a booming and growing space and technology economy which is now the largest of any city on the West Coast," Mayor Robert Garcia said in his tweet. "Welcome to Space Beach."
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Most of the marketing around Earth Day is centered around our beautiful, yet delicate, planet. But a Los Angeles purpose-driven creative agency launched a cheeky campaign that focuses on the unappealing alternative – Mars.
The agency paid for a digital billboard to go live on Earth Day across from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, with the caption: "Mars Sucks." (A representative for Mars declined to comment.)
"We wanted to make a statement that would catch the world's attention, with the sole purpose of encouraging people to see the importance of prioritizing Earth," wrote Paco Conde and Beto Fernandez, founders of the agency Activista, in a joint email to dot.LA. "With SpaceX and Elon Musk representing Mars, the digital billboard outside SpaceX's HQ gave us a unique opportunity to make our statement that Mars can wait, but Earth can't – all in good humour, with a wink and a smile."
SpaceX is aiming to ferry tourists to Mars as soon as 2024.While seen as the most likely other planet in our solar system to host intelligent life, the Red Planet leaves a lot to be desired – with no breathable air, temperatures averaging a chilly -8 F and going as low as -220F, and punishing dust storms lasting months on end.
Conde and Fernandez say they are baffled as to why billionaires such as Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are so intent on going to Mars.
"We see some of the smartest and richest people on this planet dreaming of Mars," they wrote. "A hellhole that sucks. Really? Imagine if we had these same brilliant minds putting their genius into the climate crisis we're facing right now."
While the billboard will only be on display for 24 hours – until 6am PST Friday – a website and social media campaign will live on with the anti-Mars message. Visitors to the website are encouraged to donate to environmental groups.
Elon Musk has not responded to the billboard but plenty of others worldwide, including Russia's state news agency, have taken note on social media.
'Mars sucks' billboard springs up near SpaceX HQ to troll Elon Musk, media says @SpaceX @elonmusk https://t.co/XsUiF0e3LO— Sputnik (@Sputnik)1619119860.0
Earth Day shade in front of Space X headquarters. https://t.co/I7NMFeBrtw https://t.co/Fzf2zNqNh4— Bill Weir (@Bill Weir)1619102696.0
Une agence trolle Elon Musk avec sa campagne “Mars sucks” #journeemondialedelaterre https://t.co/AdEde0MfiR— la Réclame (@la Réclame)1619118540.0
🌍🌎🌏 Happy Earth Day 🌍🌎🌏— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1619125064.0
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Elon Musk's SpaceX will build a spacecraft to bring astronauts to the moon in a deal with NASA that firmly places the Hawthorne-based startup as the nation's top space ally and solidifies the privatization of lunar travel.
The $2.9 billion contract could make SpaceX the first private company to send people to the moon.
"The U.S. leads in space exploration now, but more and more countries are taking aim at the moon," NASA's acting administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a press briefing Friday.
SpaceX — which this week topped off a massive funding round — was up against Jeff Bezos' aerospace company Blue Origin and a defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama called Dynetics, according to the Post.
Last year, NASA awarded the three entities $967 million and a 10 month contract to kick off work on the lunar lander modules. It was expected to pick two of the companies to continue. Selecting SpaceX alone, and equipping the company with a near $3 billion contract, came as a surprise.
Musk's company has already begun testing prototypes of its Starship spacecraft in Texas, though recent flights have crash landed. According to the Washington Post, SpaceX will try out a new upgraded vehicle and plans to fly the spacecraft to orbit this year.
The contract falls under NASA's Human Landing Systems project, an arm of the Artemis program aiming to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. Initiated during president Trump's term, the program is being revised under President Biden partially to bring in more funding.
The first woman and first person of color will both step foot on the moon under the Artemis program, Jurczyk said.
"And we won't stop at the moon," he said. "The Artemis lunar landing is a key piece to our moon to Mars strategy."
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