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SpaceX’s Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas, is used for research and development of new rocket engines and thrusters as well as for testing final manufactured engines, various components, and engines during development. Although SpaceX manufactures all of their rocket engines and thrusters at their Hawthorne headquarters, each must pass through McGregor where the company tests each new engine off of the assembly line as well as those being developed for future missions to orbit and beyond before each one can be used on a flight mission. “The company’s headquarters and factory in Southern California gets a lot of the attention, but most of the noisy, dirty, and critical testing work is done just outside this small central Texas town nestled in amid the farm fields.” Extensive and repeated rocket engine testing is a key to increasing reliability and, thereby, mission success, while lowering the operating cost for SpaceX. Dragon spacecraft, following use on a space mission, splashdown, and recovery, are shipped to McGregor for de-fueling, cleanup, and refurbishment for potential reuse in-flight missions. The first scaled methane-fueled Raptor rocket engine, manufactured at the Hawthorne facility in California, shipped to McGregor by August 2016 for development testing.

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