Gulf of Mexico
Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

TX - SpaceX is causing a rift between Brownsville residents. Some say it’s shattering the lives of locals but others are welcoming the economic boom its created.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gives a presentation on his Starship rocket at their Boca Chica spaceport launch facility.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gives a presentation on his Starship rocket at their Boca Chica spaceport launch facility.

  • Brownsville residents are divided as SpaceX sets up its main launch facilities close to the area.
  • Some locals are excited for Elon Musk to create job opportunities and pump money into the city.
  • Others are concerned SpaceX will displace locals, hike prices, and destroy the nature reserves.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Residents of Brownsville, a small city in Texas, are divided. Their town is now home to SpaceX’s rocket-production facilities, which only promises to grow bigger.

Some locals told Insider they’re at their wits’ end with SpaceX as the aerospace company sets off explosions and pushes locals out of the area. But others see it as a positive impact on the economy and residents’ wellbeing.

Brownsville, which lies 20 miles west of SpaceX’s launch facilities on the Gulf Coast, is known for being one of the poorest areas in the US. The 300,000-person city also has a very high unemployment rate.

When SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted at the end of March that he was donating $30 million to Brownsville – $20 million to schools and $10 million for revitalization – it split the city.

Musk also announced that he was building a new city called Starbase at SpaceX’s launch facilities which would be “much larger” than Boca Chica Village, where the company is developing its Starship rocket.

Brownsville’s mayor Trey Mendez was surprised at Musk’s announcement and said in an interview with KSAT 12 it was “exciting” that the community could have the chance to become the face of “space exploration and innovation.”

Mendez said he hoped Musk’s capital would help “accelerate the progress [in Brownsville] even more.”

But there is division between those living in the south Texas city. Some are concerned that SpaceX’s developments will be devastating for the people, nature, and ecosystems there. Others welcome the job opportunities, economic prosperity, and modernization that Musk’s company could bring to the town.

Read more.