Elon Musk, chief executive officer for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX). (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

SpaceX Will Make Massive, Mars-Bound `BFR' Rocket at L.A. Port

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(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. will build its giant in-development rocket, nicknamed “BFR,” at the Port of Los Angeles.

“Officially announcing that SpaceX will start production development of the Big Falcon Rocket in the Port of L.A.,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in a tweet Monday. “This vehicle holds the promise of taking humanity deeper into the cosmos than ever before.”

SpaceX -- which builds its existing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets at its manufacturing plant in Hawthorne, California -- needs the additional factory space to construct its new, larger vehicle designed to carry humans on quick hops across the world and eventually to Mars.

The company has said it would need to build the BFR near water given its size, and the L.A. Port already announced last month it was talking to the company about leasing extra space for unspecified operations. The lease deal will go before the Port of Los Angeles Board of Commissioners on Thursday.

“SpaceX has called the Port of Los Angeles home to our west coast recovery operations since 2012,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, said in an emailed statement. “The Port will play an increasingly important role in our mission to help make humanity multi-planetary as SpaceX begins production development of BFR -- our next generation rocket and spaceship system capable of carrying crew and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond.”

Musk unveiled his vision for the BFR during a presentation in Australia in September. He originally suggested one of the initials stood for a profane word, though Shotwell and Garcetti have since referred to it as “Big Falcon Rocket” instead.

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