SpaceX hints at dedicated Starlink factory in Austin, TX


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It appears that SpaceX is looking to establish a dedicated manufacturing facility for its Starlink satellite internet in Austin, Texas. This was hinted at in a job listing from the Elon Musk-led private space firm for an Automation & Controls Engineer, which would be working on the mass production of Starlink’s consumer facing devices.

Starlink has the potential to be SpaceX’s most lucrative venture yet, with the firm aiming to provide high-speed internet access to even the most remote areas of the globe. To accomplish this, SpaceX would need to ramp the production of its Starlink kits, which include everything a user would need to connect to the internet.

As per the job listing, the Automation & Controls Engineer would be working specifically towards making Starlink into a mass-market product. SpaceX noted that its efforts to increase the production of Starlink kits would be pivotal in keeping up with the global demand for the satellite-based internet system.

“To keep up with global demand, SpaceX is breaking ground on a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX. The Automation & Controls Engineer will play a key role as we strive to manufacture millions of consumer facing devices that we ship directly to customers (Starlink dishes, Wi-Fi routers, mounting hardware, etc).

“Specifically, they will design and develop control systems and software for production line machinery – ultimately tackling the toughest mechanical, software, and electrical challenges that come with high volume manufacturing, all while maintaining a focus on flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use.”

SpaceX’s new Starlink job listing confirms that the private space firm is looking to establish a dedicated production facility for the satellite internet system in Austin, Texas. This is quite unsurprising to a point, considering that other Elon Musk-led ventures such as Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company have all established their presence in the Lone Star State. Musk has even hinted that Boca Chica Beach, where SpaceX’s Starship prototypes are currently being built and tested, would eventually become a hub for possible space travel in the future.

Elon Musk has noted previously that Starlink, which is currently based in Redmond, Washington, will be a crucial source of funding for SpaceX’s more ambitious plans. These include, among others, the development of the fully-reusable Starship rocket, which would have the capability to bring payloads and humans back to the Moon, and later on, to Mars.


Is Elon Musk planning to build a SpaceX factory in Austin?
Kara Carlson
Austin American-Statesman

Is Elon Musk about to add to his Austin technology empire – this time with a Central Texas manufacturing facility for SpaceX, his aerospace and space transportation company?

Musk and SpaceX haven't formally announce any such plans. But the company's job site currently lists openings for two SpaceX engineering positions in Austin – and one of the postings reads: "To keep up with global demand, SpaceX is breaking ground on a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX."

On Tuesday Musk – the world's wealthiest person and the CEO of both SpaceX and electric automaker Tesla -- also posted a cryptic Texas-related tweet.

"Creating the city of Starbase, Texas," the tweet said.

It was not clear what, if anything, Musk meant by it – other than the billionaire's presence in Texas seems to be continuing to grow. Musk confirmed to the Wall Street Journal in December that he has moved to Texas, though he has not said where exactly in the state he calls home.
Last month, Musk predicted Austin will become a modern-day "boomtown" for the United States. "It's going to be the biggest boomtown that America has seen in 50 years," Musk said during an appearance on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.

If SpaceX did build a manufacturing facility in Austin, it would follow on the heels of Tesla's decision to build a $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in Travis County.

It's not clear where in the Austin area the SpaceX facility might be built, if it indeed becomes a reality. There were also no immediate details available on how large it might become, how far along the facility could be, or how many people might eventually work there.

The SpaceX job postings do give a glimpse into the potential manufacturing that might occur at such a facility. An 'Assembly and Packaging Equipment Engineer' job posting says the job would be focused on packaging design, development and new product introduction, including leading wafer and chip-scale packaging processes. An 'Automation and Controls Engineer' position would be working on Starlink, SpaceX's broadband internet service system component, according to the job posting.

SpaceX already has a significant presence in far South Texas, with an operations site near Boca Chica. It includes a production facility and a launch site.

More:Tesla picks Austin for $1B factory

SpaceX also has a testing facility in McGregor, outside of Waco, where the company leases about 4,280 acres and employs about 500 people, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. Last year, officials allocated $2 million to the company, which plans $10 million in infrastructure improvements on the site, the Tribune-Herald reported.

Before moving to Texas, Musk already spent significant time in the state. He told the Wall Street Journal that the "two biggest things" he was working on are his SpaceX starship development in South Texas, and the new Tesla factory in Travis County.

In July, Musk chose the Austin area as the site for the $1.1 billion Tesla manufacturing factory. The southeastern Travis County facility will produce Tesla's Cybertruck, Semi, Model 3 company sedan, and other vehicles and include a battery manufacturing element.

Musk has said the plant, called a gigafactory, could start rolling out vehicles as early as this year. He has also said the Austin factory will likely allow tours and could eventually allow people to drive vehicles they've purchased right off the property.

In addition to Tesla and SpaceX, Musk's and infrastructure company also has area operations. The Boring Company is currently renovating a space in Pflugerville and has multiple job postings for Austin. The company first hinted that it was hiring in Austin with a cryptic tweet last year.

"Rumor has it that "Austin Chalk" is geologically one of the best soils for tunneling. Want to find out? Austin jobs now available,” the company said in a post on Twitter in November. It included a link that shows a number of job postings in both engineering and operations but did not provide any additional details.

Neuralink, Musk's neurotechnology company, also had job postings for Austin in recent months. It's not clear the company's exact plans.

Over the summer, Musk also relocated his private foundation, the Musk Foundation, from California to Austin.

SOURCE: Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The company SpaceX is breaking ground on a “new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in Austin. That’s according to a new update on the company’s website where jobs are posted.

SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, Calif. but has offices across the country, including two existing Texas sites: a launch facility in Brownsville and a rocket testing facility in McGregor. The company’s founder Elon Musk has increasingly moved his business ventures and his personal life, to the Lone Star State.

Musk confirmed in December 2020 that he had moved to Texas, and while he hasn’t directly admitted he lives in Austin, his comments in interviews seem to suggest that is possible.

Over the past year, several of Musk’s ventures have placed roots in the Austin area with Tesla announcing plans to build a Gigafactory for manufacturing electric vehicles in Travis County, Boring Company hiring in the Austin area, and Musk’s private foundation relocating from California to Austin.

In a change from just weeks earlier, Austin is now listed as a potential location for SpaceX jobs on the company’s website. Two jobs are posted there, an Automation and Controls Engineer for the SpaceX project Starlink and an Assembly and Packaging Equipment Engineer. Both of those positions are listed as remote work roles from Austin, but the job descriptions appear to be tied to this new manufacturing facility. The job descriptions state that these roles will aim to manufacture devices to be sent directly to customers such as Starlink dishes, WiFi routers, and mounting hardware.

Both of these jobs require that applicants be willing to travel at least a quarter of the time to the SpaceX headquarters in the Los Angeles area until the Austin facility “is fully established.”

It is unclear where exactly this Austin facility will be located.

Musk posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he will be creating a city called Starbase, TX, but didn’t share details about whether that city would be near Brownsville, McGregor, Austin, or somewhere else.

In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Musk went into detail about why he has been drawn to Austin.

“Austin is a bit like mini California,” Musk said during the February interview. “I was like, asking the team in California, ‘alright where do you wanna — what’s your top choice [for] the next big U.S. factory location, where do you want to spend time?’ The number one choice was Austin.”

Musk said he then asked his team what their number two option would be after Austin, and they were silent.

“Yeah, I think we do need to make sure people moving from California don’t inadvertently recreate the issues that caused them to move in the first place,” Musk also told Rogan that day.

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