Elon Musk plans close encounter with LA shipyard for mission to Mars

Elon Musk is being tipped to take over an old American shipyard and to use the site in California to build rockets to take people to Mars.

Musk’s SpaceX is looking at leasing Southwest Marine Shipyard from the Port of Los Angeles for up to 30 years with a view “to design, develop, and manufacture prototypes and first-generation models of specialized commercial transportation vessels”, according to a project description cited by the Daily Breeze.

According to a project description in a California Environmental Quality Act review, “the vessels, once complete, would be too large for delivery by road and thus must be taken via supply barge, necessitating the facility be located adjacent to the water.”

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved an environmental review for the project.

Rocketmaker SpaceX already leases 8.1 acres in San Pedro’s Outer Harbor.

Tech entrepreneur Musk has high profile plans to design a deepspace rocket for missions to Mars and to transport passengers around the world in record time.

Southwest Marine is the last remaining example of the once booming shipbuilding industry at the Port of Los Angeles.

The site was first developed for shipbuilding in 1918. During its heyday the yard set world speed records for delivering ships.

In recent years its industrial setting has been used as a backdrop on a number of Hollywood movies, including Spider-Man, Charlie’s Angels and Live Free or Die Hard, among many others.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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