How SpaceX Is Changing the 'Destiny' of Brownsville, Texas

PHOTO: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveils SpaceXs new seven-seat Dragon V2 spacecraft, in Hawthorne, Calif., May 29, 2014.
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Brownsville, a border town on the southernmost tip of Texas, will soon be more than just a portal between the United States and Mexico; it will be a gateway to space.

Elon Musk's SpaceX will build a commercial site for orbital rocket launches at the state-owned Boca Chica Beach, an area nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande River, which separates the United States and Mexico.

"In addition to creating hundreds of high-tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the South Texas area," Musk, 43, said in a statement.

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PHOTO: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., July 14, 2014.
SpaceX
PHOTO: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., July 14, 2014.

Despite its white sand beaches, rich Texas history and subtropical climate, Brownsville has a reputation of being a sleepy border town that is usually only mentioned in national headlines when it comes to immigration issues and border violence.

Town officials know that Musk's announcement means those days are over.

"Our children's future just took a huge step forward, and our community is well on its way to becoming a vibrant and thriving community," Brownsville Commissioner Rose Gowen said.

Commissioner Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa said "Brownsville's destiny has changed."

PHOTO: The downtown area of Brownsville, Texas is seen in this Sept. 12, 2006 photo.
Jaedza/Wikimedia
PHOTO: The downtown area of Brownsville, Texas is seen in this Sept. 12, 2006 photo.

Musk, a billionaire futurist who made his fortune from PayPal and electric automaker Tesla, is expected to pump an $85 million capital investment into the project and create more than 300 high-tech jobs.

The deal was sweetened with $15.3 million in incentives from the state of Texas.

PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents work at a processing facility, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville,Texas.
Eric Gay/Getty Images
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents work at a processing facility, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville,Texas.

It's a much-needed boost for the town of 180,000 where half the residents are employed in the government, education and health sectors, according to the Brownsville Economic Development Council.

The median household income in Brownsville is $31,605, which could spike with the creation of more science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs.

PHOTO: Cars drive from Matomoros, Mexico (L), across the U.S.-Mexico border at the Rio Grande, May 21, 2013, into Brownsville, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images
PHOTO: Cars drive from Matomoros, Mexico (L), across the U.S.-Mexico border at the Rio Grande, May 21, 2013, into Brownsville, Texas.

SpaceX has said it plans to launch 12 rockets a year from the South Texas facility. The company has previously leased launch-pad space from NASA at Cape Canaveral in Florida and has also launched from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

Having its own facility will allow SpaceX greater control over the timing of its launches. Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez said the first rocket from the facility could blast into space as early as 2016.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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