Elon Musk’s SpaceX makes the headlines — lately because of an unfortunate explosion in Cape Canaveral, Florida — but the venture wouldn’t be possible without the participation of the 26 residents of Boca Chica Village, Texas. Lauren Etter has written for Bloomberg Business about the South Texas town that Musk selected as the site for the first commercial rocket launch. At first enthusiastic, many there have turned against Musk and SpaceX as an unwelcome intrusion.
Among residents’ concerns are tight restrictions on movement around the town during launch, debris and pollution from launches, and the very real possibility of a serious and deadly explosion. Among Etter’s interviewees is a retired hairdresser, who moved to Boca Chica Village, and “just felt closer to the Lord.” The attention brought by Musk’s project is, obviously, a radical departure from that calm lifestyle.
Etter’s piece is a necessary reminder that there are real humans who sacrifice their own well-being and comfort for others’ innovation and technological progress. It’s difficult to imagine Musk moving SpaceX from Boca Chica Village, but hopefully the article nudges the company to work more closely with the residents toward compromise. Getting to space begins with the people on the ground.