What is Starbase? Elon Musk's 21st-century spaceport city in Texas expected to be base for future Mars missions

Like other hyped Musk projects, the publicity has started way before actual plans to incorporate Boca Chica Area as the new 'City of Starbase' start

                            What is Starbase? Elon Musk's 21st-century spaceport city in Texas expected to be base for future Mars missions
Elon Musk took to Twitter to share a view of Starbase city in South Texas, which is expected to be built on Boca Chica Village land (Getty Images, Twitter/SpaceX Missions)

Elon Musk's dream to create a 21st-century spaceport is now underway. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, March 2, he revealed his plans for his own city, "Starbase, Texas". The location of the new city will be built on the land bought by Space X in the area known as the Boca Chica Village, surrounding its South Texas Launch Site and launch complex. According to news reports, a SpaceX representative had made a “casual inquiry” last week about the legal requirements to incorporate Boca Chica, according to Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino. However, SpaceX is yet to make a formal request.   

Situated on Texas State Highway 4, immediately south of the South Bay lagoon, Boca Chica Village was a small, unincorporated community in Cameron County, Texas, United States. Land acquisition, some of it controversial, has been underway since September 2019 with Space X offering homeowners two to three times the appraised value of their homes — up to roughly $150,000. Most residents, barring a few holdouts moved out by October 2020. The area is part of a wildlife preserve and is one of the only undeveloped beaches in Texas. According to Musk, the new city will be spread out over a larger area than the original Boca Chica Village. 


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A welcome sign is pictured at Boca Chica Village on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. (Getty Images)

Musk wrote about his new spaceport city in two cryptic tweets. His first tweet said, "Creating the city of Starbase, Texas", followed by another tweet about its future: "From thence to Mars, And hence the Stars" signifying how the city will become the launch site for future space missions. He also tweeted from Space X's official Twitter handle about the new city with pictures of the location, writing: "Ladies and gentlemen, I have to show you the old Boca Chica Village that now becomes Starbase Texas. This is just a little bit of the new StarBase."




One Twitter user asked Musk if the city was going to be dog friendly. “Very much so & its leader shall be The Doge,” he responded, punning on the word for lord of an Italian city-state, like Venice and Genoa, during the medieval and renaissance periods. The tweet, while a joke, also points to Musk's ambition to own his own city.



A prototype of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft is pictured behind a home in Boca Chica Village on September 28, 2019, in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. SpaceX was attempting to buy out all the residents of this community in order to expand spaceflight activities (Getty Images)

Space X at one point had revealed plans to develop a resort community in the area near the launch complex and had even advertised a position for a resort development manager saying that SpaceX was "committed to developing revolutionary space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets" and that "Boca Chica Village is our latest launch site dedicated to Starship, our next-generation launch vehicle".

Musk's Twitter announcement was met with both positive and critical reactions. One user enthusiastically tweeted: "The perfect name for what will soon be the funnest city on planet Earth!!! The new frontier". In contrast was a reality-check tweet that said: "Starbase, Texas has an elevation of 3 feet and at projected levels of sea-level rise will be submerged by 2070."   



Like a lot of hyped Musk projects, the publicity has started way before the actual plans to officially incorporate Boca Chica Area as the new "City of Starbase". Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino issued a statement on Elon Musk's interest to incorporate Boca Chica Village into the City of Starbase, Texas, stating that "Space X and Elon Musk...must abide by all state incorporation statutes". The statement added that the County Court will process "any appropriate petition in conformity with applicable law".