The site in Boca Chica, south Texas is surrounded by protected lands that host a huge range of local wildlife including turtles and hundreds of bird species
Everything seemed normal as SpaceX’s Starship juddered into the sky over south Texas last March, tangerine flames and white smoke pluming behind it. But roughly six minutes into the test flight, the spacecraft thudded back to Earth.
SpaceX, the company founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has a “test, fly, fail, fix, repeat” method for its commercial space program. That approach is part of why Musk wanted to put the launch site on a tract of land just off the Gulf of Mexico, close to the Texas border with Mexico. “We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, so if it blows up, it’s cool,” Musk reportedly said at a press conference in 2018.