According to the Port of Long Beach, the aerospace company will occupy about 6.5 acres on the port's Pier T beginning May 1. The facility will be used for SpaceX's West Coast rocket recovery operations. The Hawthorne, California-based company will utilize the site’s existing wharf to dock its vessels and offload equipment.
Under the sublease agreement, SpaceX will pay $107,000 per month for use of the facility, subject to an annual consumer price index (CPI) adjustment. The term of the sublease is two years and SpaceX may terminate its sublease at anytime with a 90-day written notice. The company will be responsible for maintenance and repair of the facility and grounds, while the port will maintain the wharf structure of the pier. Any improvements to the site, including new construction, also would be covered by SpaceX.
SpaceX did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.
The facility was previously used by Sea Launch, a commercial satellite launching company that had been based at the port for 20 years. SeaLaunch vacated the space in February 2020. Prior to Sea Launch's arrival, the port served as the site of a U.S. Navy complex.
"This is a good fit for the Port, as we offer the industry-leading facilities and services that are perfectly suited to SpaceX’s mission," Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said in a statement. "I would like to commend our Port team, especially our Real Estate division, for developing this agreement with SpaceX."
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia welcomed SpaceX to "Space Beach" in a tweet Monday evening.
"We have a booming and growing space and technology economy which is now the largest of any city on the West Coast," Garcia said.
SpaceX joins a growing list of aerospace companies who have set up shop in Long Beach, including Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, Relativity Space, Spin Launch, and Boeing. Collectively, Long Beach aerospace companies account for over 6,500 direct jobs within city limits, according to the mayor's office.
The move into Long Beach comes as SpaceX was recently awarded a $2.9 billion contract to build a spacecraft that will return astronauts to the moon for the first time in decades as part of NASA's Artemis program. NASA is hoping to land Americans on the moon "as quickly and safely as possible." When pressed on a timeframe, one executive said that the agency "may have a shot at 2024."
The company is currently developing the rocket for the mission, known as Starship, which will also be used for the first-ever private commercial space trip to the Moon, dubbed dearMoon, in 2023.
So far, SpaceX has successfully launched four Starship prototypes, including SN8, SN9, SN10 and most recently, SN11, though all have ended in fiery explosions. Following the SN9 explosion, the House Transportation Committee said it would conduct an investigation of the launch, which regulators said violated U.S. safety requirements and SpaceX's test license. SN10 is the only Starship iteration that has successfully stuck the landing after performing a "belly flop" maneuver.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that the latest iteration, Starship SN-15, completed a static fire test on Monday. Musk said that SN-15's flight could come sometime later this week.
Musk said in December that he remained "highly confident" that SpaceX's Starship will also land humans on Mars by 2026.
Meanwhile, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket recently transported a group of NASA astronauts, dubbed Crew 2, to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 will also be used to launch the world's first all civilian mission to orbit Earth, Inspiration4, in the fourth quarter of 2021.