The 50-acre Boca Chica, Texas facility where Elon Musk’s SpaceX is testing the prototype version of its Starship rocket—recently in the news for tipping over in high wind—could be split in twain by Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
According to the report, Department of Homeland Security planning documents show the border wall running directly through a launchpad at the facility. Democratic Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, who is chair of the subcommittee that oversees DHS appropriations, told the news agency “the fence cuts right through their property and that’s a problem.” She added that she is trying to have the facility exempted from any possible projects.
Bloomberg wrote that SpaceX appears to be laying low so far, not publicly raising a fuss about the matter:
Representative Filemon Vela, a Democrat whose district includes the SpaceX facility, said the company isn’t happy about the plans, though it hasn’t publicly raised objections.
“They are way behind the scenes on this, they are lying pretty low,” said Vela, citing information he was given by local officials. “SpaceX doesn’t want to offend DHS.”
SpaceX hasn’t lobbied Congress on border barriers on its property, and hasn’t asked anyone to do so on its behalf, a company official said.
According to Bloomberg, SpaceX spokesperson James Gleeson said that the DHS as well as Customs and Border Protection have requested to enter the site to perform a survey, and the company is reviewing that request “and is in communication with DHS to further understand their plans.”
While SpaceX originally planned to build the rocket in the Port of Los Angeles, it moved production of the current prototype to Boca Chica this year amid major layoffs Musk said were necessary to keep the company from going bankrupt.
However, it’s possible no wall is coming at all, in which case SpaceX operations would not be significantly disrupted. Trump’s administration has offered wildly varying explanations of what the border barrier would look like and how it will be paid for, and despite being willing to shut down the federal government for over a month to obtain it, has failed to secure any concessions from his Democratic rivals other than the possibility of token payments for some border fencing. As the Washington Post noted, Trump has limited options to resolve the impasse that would actually result in anything approaching the promised wall.