Former L.A. shipyard site may be used to build space ships

Speculation is that SpaceX's giant BFR could be built on portions of former Southwest Marine shipyard site Speculation is that SpaceX's giant BFR could be built on portions of former Southwest Marine shipyard site SpaceX

MARCH 21, 2018 — Parts of Los Angeles's former Southwest Marine Shipyard could be used for building ships again. But these ships would be space ships, built by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Speculation is that the ships in question would be SpaceX's proposed BFR. Planned to take human beings to Mars, the BFR could also allow travel between any two places on Earth in under an hours. With a length of 48 m and body diameter of 9 m, the BFR will reportedly be too large for SpaceX's current Los Angeles manufacturing facility.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has been looking at a proposal for what is officially "The Berth 240 Transportation Vessels Manufacturing Facility Project."

According to one document submitted to the Commission, "Operation would involve research and development of transportation vessels and would likely include general manufacturing procedures such as welding, composite curing, cleaning, painting, and assembly operations. The majority of operations would take place inside the facility, with exterior operations limited to transit of vehicles, forklift traffic, and mobilization of manufactured products onto a barge at the dockside for testing and delivery. Finished vessels would need to be transported via water due to their size; thus there is the need to locate the facility immediately adjacent to the water. In addition, the lease would accommodate recovery operations undertaken by Space Exploration Technologies to bring to shore vehicles returning from space that are retrieved by an autonomous drone ship offshore."

The application has been submitted by WW Marine Composites, LLC, which is understood to be a SpaceX subsidiary, and the planned activities would take place on an 18-acre located along the harbor's main channel that includes portions of the former Southwest Marine shipyard.

The facility is "intended to be a state-of-the-art industrial manufacturing facility serving to develop prototypes of new technologies needed to advance the specialized deployment of transportation vessels and develop the manufacturing processes prior to implementing production on a larger scale. Operation would likely include general manufacturing procedures such as welding, composite curing, cleaning, painting, and assembly operations. The majority of operations would take place inside the facility, with exterior operations limited to transit of vehicles, forklift traffic, and mobilization of manufactured products onto a barge at the dockside for testing and delivery ... In addition, the lease would accommodate existing recovery operations to bring to shore vehicles returning from space that are retrieved by an autonomous drone ship offshore."

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