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Bill Encourages Space Exploration Companies To Make Texas Home

Chandra X-ray Observatory
Smithsonian Institution

A bill that would make Texas the next state to possess a commercial rocket launch pad has been unanimously voted out of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

The bill, authored by Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, facilitates a way for space exploration companies to build and operate in Texas and provides matching funds as an incentive for these companies.

"We are just trying to encourage private space exploration," Deuell said. "There are actually multiple companies in Texas- I have one in my district, Armadillo Aerospace."

SpaceX is another group in the mix, the company's founder, Elon Musk, is pushing Texas lawmakers to pass legislation to clear a path for his electric car company Tesla Motors to be able to sell its cars in the state.

"What we are proposing to build is a commercial version of Cape Canaveral and it would be something that would generate a tremendous amount of jobs, and that is not just speculation," said Musk. "You can look at our operations in Cape Canaveral or at Florida or at Vanderburg in California."

SpaceX has already been planning to build a launch site near Brownsville, which brings up the second part of the bill addressing safety and allowing the state to block off a section of the beach and surrounding area during launch time. 

The bill would also limit liability, making it difficult for employees and those living near the rocket site to sue the company.