The shores at Isla Blanca Park are required to be where several space fans and islanders go to watch a test dispatch over the water at SpaceX’s Starship facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
With the Starship SN8 launch teasingly inescapable, South Padre Island has discovered significantly more travelers walking the roads. The perspective on the SpaceX launch facility only a few miles across the water.
“Everybody wants to see it happening,” said James Baxter, a Houston native and South Padre Island transplant.
Tourists like Eric and Tammy Patton went from Maryland and have remained for days in hopes to catch the SN8 prototype fly.
“When we heard about SpaceX and that awesome dude, Elon Musk, we absolutely loved it! He’s like, ‘I’m getting a rocket off in three years’ It took 1 year!” Eric Patton said.
“We were in California when [SpaceX] did the last one,” Tammy Patton said. “We were watching, and I was crying. I was so excited!”
They don’t figure they will leave South Padre Island.
“We have a place now for 30 days, and we’re looking for an apartment,” Eric Patton said.
Local shops and businesses miles away are encountering an expansion in business from SpaceX getting comfortable town.
“Even in Brownsville, surrounding areas … the hotels … a lot of them are occupied by employees of SpaceX,” Baxter said.
Baxter is a Space City local presently fabricating a day to day existence almost a maturing spaceport.
“I grew up in Houston,” Baxter said. “We get to hear and feel the rumble every time the engine fires!”
Anna Lyson works at a nearby shop on Padre Boulevard called Calypso.
“People were saying that this is just for retired folks,” Lyson said. “I don’t think that’s the case anymore. There’s a lot of young generation making roots down here to be a part of this.”
She is interestingly affected by SpaceX.
“I’m very proud to say that my husband works for SpaceX, that my husband is working for SpaceX, and we actually moved down from the Pennsylvania area to SPI to kind be a part of this awesome history in the making,” Lyson said.
She said she considers this to be something beneficial for businesses and community building, yet she stated, not every person is ready.
“There are some people who weren’t too happy with SpaceX coming in here, But at the same time there is just as many people very excited,” Lyson said.