SpaceX abruptly terminating lease at Port of LA for Starship production facility

The Elon Musk-led firm will exit the 19-acre site

Elon Musk and a Space X factory (Credit: Flickr and iStock)
Elon Musk and a Space X factory (Credit: Flickr and iStock)

In a sudden reversal, SpaceX will not build the spaceship and rockets it hopes to send to Mars at the Port of Los Angeles, and will exit its lease for the massive site there.

Elon Musk’s Hawthorne-based company will instead build the Starship system, previously known as the Big Falcon Rocket, in Texas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The company said the decision was made to “streamline operations,” according to a statement. It comes a week after announcing significant layoffs.

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SpaceX will “continue recovery operations,” for its Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft at the Port of L.A., but will terminate a lease agreement for a 19-acre site at the port’s Terminal Island where it planned to build a large Starship manufacturing facility. News broke of the plans in March when port officials approved a plan for a facility filed by a SpaceX subsidiary.

The city approved the lease in May. In November, SpaceX filed plans for a handful of buildings there. The facility would have employed around 700 people as originally planned.

SpaceX announced last week it would lay off 10 percent of its workers, or around 600 people in an effort to get “leaner,” according to a statement. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch