BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Development at the SpaceX Boca Chica launch site is ramping up under orders from company CEO Elon Musk, in an effort to finish the orbital launch tower and stack the starship and booster prototypes before launching into orbit. Musk has called on several hundred employees from other SpaceX sites to temporarily relocate to the area until the project is finished.  

Starship prototypes SN 15 and 16 at the Starbase build site. [Gaby Moreno]

In the effort to launch the fully stacked Starship SN20 and Super Heavy B4 prototypes into orbit, Musk has called on 500 employees from SpaceX sites in Hawthorn, California, Cape Canaveral, Florida, and McGregor, Texas, to relocate to the Brownsville/Boca Chica area temporarily. 

Musk’s ambitious goals to reach orbit by July have been delayed, but supplemental employees have been arriving in Brownsville to help finish constructing the orbital launch tower that will support the starship and booster, as well as the vehicle itself. 

While a date has not been set for the orbital launch, a source shared with KVEO that Musk gave them a short timeline of nine days, as of Friday, to have the vehicle stacked at the launch pad.  

Employees have been arriving at the Brownsville South Padre Island International airport and booking rooms at nearby hotels.  

The hotels nearest to the site, the Quality Inn and America’s Best Value Inn on Padre Island Highway, told KVEO that they were nearing or at capacity this week because of the arriving SpaceX employees.  

“During the week we don’t have these kinds of numbers,” said an employee at the Quality Inn as he explained that they are usually 45% booked during the week but are now at 90%.  

An employee at America’s Best Value Inn told KVEO that they started seeing more guests three days ago and have reached capacity.  

However, hotels farther away from the site are not seeing the same influx due to SpaceX employees but are seeing more people due to the time of year and COVID-19 vaccine distribution, as well as migrants from detention centers.  

A Twitter page following Musk’s private jets posted a photo of employees arriving at the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, last Saturday.  

Recently the aerospace company came under scrutiny by the Cameron County District Attorney’s office for unauthorized closure of county roads, SpaceX has since responded and opened the road in question.