SpaceX

Questions over how to remember an East Texas manhunt

SpaceX successfully conducted a test launch of its massive Starship rocket from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica this morning. We’ll hear from Gaige Davila of Texas Public Radio live from Brownsville.
The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to ban TikTok, citing security concerns related to the Chinese-owned platform’s control of Americans’ data. The Standard’s Shelly Brisbin has been following the story, including where Texans in Congress stand.
And: Why a courthouse renovation is East Texas is dividing a community.

Will third time be the charm for SpaceX’s Starship launch from Boca Chica?

The University of Texas at Austin is among other colleges in the country that are bringing back a standardized test requirement for applicants.
A city report has exonerated the Uvalde Police Department for its response to the Robb Elementary School shooting. Despite the report, Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez announced his resignation.
SpaceX plans a new try at launching its Starship super heavy rocket on Thursday from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
And the discovery of an artifact that one SMU professor believes could be a link to Coronado’s fabled expedition.

State approves Boca Chica State Park land swap with SpaceX

A Texas electricity company acknowledges its role in the largest wildfire in state history, a Panhandle blaze still only partially contained. We’ll hear more from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Despite objections from Brownsville and Rio Grande Valley residents, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department voted to move forward with a plan to swap land within Boca Chica State Park to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Tech expert Omar Gallaga has an update on the Facebook/Meta outages shutting down services for many on Super Tuesday.
And: Actor Thomas Haden Church on his latest film, “Accidental Texan,” a title that also describes his journey to the state.

Exploring SpaceX’s potential land swap with Texas

The Texas Supreme Court hears arguments in a case challenging a law banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans minors.

John Whitmire, Houston’s new mayor, campaigned to be “tough-but-smart on crime.” Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider takes a look at some of Whitmire’s plans for law enforcement.

SpaceX wants to give the state 477 acres of land near a national wildlife refuge in exchange for 43 acres from Boca Chica State Park, near its launch site – but the plan is drawing local pushback.

And: West Texas A&M University plans a new institute to advocate what the school’s president calls “Panhandle values.” Critics fear it’s a push to spread conservative values across the university.

How this man survived in the West Texas desert for 27 hours

What does Congress’ budget deal to avert a partial government shutdown mean for food and the farmers and ranchers who produce it? We’ll hear more on the Farm Bill extension, and the implications for Texas.

The push for police accountability: An investigative report from the Austin American-Statesman reveals that police indictments rarely lead to convictions.

Last weekend’s destructive rocket launch was a big fail for SpaceX – or was it? What explains radically mixed reviews of the Starship test launch.

Plus the harrowing account of a Texas hiker, lost in Big Bend Ranch State Park in triple-digit heat, and his near-miraculous survival.

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Is this the end of efforts to keep Fairfield Lake State Park public?

For the first time in modern memory, the Texas House is set to take up a school voucher-like plan.

How do you put a price tag on a state park? We’ll hear more about the challenges facing Texas Parks and Wildlife as it tries to reclaim parkland purchased by developers.

In a dramatic U-turn this week, China’s president appears to be trying to warm up to the U.S. Some clues as to why might be found in a new report from the Dallas Federal Reserve.

Also: What some forecasters are calling a “super El Niño” is coming soon to Texas.

SpaceX satellite debris could fall from the sky and kill people, FAA report says

Where do we stand with education in the special legislative session? With Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas House at a deadlock over school vouchers.


The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that by 2035, one person could be injured or killed by falling SpaceX Starlink debris every two years.


As the World Series gets underway tonight in Arlington; North Texans share what their hometown Texas Rangers mean to them — and why they’ve never lost faith.


Also: the week in politics with the Texas Tribune.

Bears are returning to Texas, whether we’re ready or not

A state law, dubbed the “Death Star bill” and designed to preempt a large number of local ordinances, has been ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge. But the battle’s far from over.

A new state budget takes effect Friday, with a large portion earmarked for border security.

Decades ago, black bears were all but driven from the state by overhunting and population growth. The bears are back – will Texans co-exist with them any better this time around? The Standard’s Michael Marks reports.

After environmentally destructive launch, will regulators let SpaceX blast off again?

A new law barring transition care for transgender youth has been temporarily blocked by a Texas judge, but it may take effect anyway Sept. 1. We’ll have the latest – plus how doctors are trying to prepare.

Officials were left in disbelief over the scale and scope of environmental damage after the failed test of a SpaceX starship in South Texas earlier this year, according to a new report.

A new book sheds light on the seldom-told tale of conscientious objectors who nonetheless went to the front lines in Vietnam.

Evidence suggests Texas Rangers may have created mass gravesite

Is a plan to advance credit for early parole to prisoners with good conduct records or educational advancements a good idea for Texas?

A deadly shooting in West Texas. The victims: migrants. The suspects: brothers in law enforcement. Seven months later, questions mounting about what’s happened to the investigation. Angela Kocherga of KTEP El Paso with more.

The FAA is grounding SpaceX in the aftermath of a historic and messy launch in South Texas.

Also the story behind a Texas furniture store owner, known as much for his TV commercials as for his big league sports wagers.

Texas Standard: November 16, 2022

With an expected split in power on Capitol Hill, what does that mean for Texans? Coming up, the Texas Tribune’s Matthew Choi on bills that could affect Texas in a big way, and the potential for gridlock In Congress. Also, after the winter power disaster of 2021, Texas officials rolling out a plan to help one of the most vulnerable groups of Texans: dialysis patients. And for the first time since the end of the Apollo program, NASA takes a giant leap to the moon. More on today’s launch of Artemis 1 and what’s ahead. And with interest rates rising and turbulence in the housing market, the Dallas fed raises red flags. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 21, 2022

A resource center in San Antonio now in the spotlight. It’s the focus of a national controversy over transporting migrants out of state. At least three migrants from Venezuela file suit against Florida’s governor and other top officials alleging false promises designed to lure them to travel from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll have details. Also after a hurricane strike’s Puerto Rico, a privatized power grid leaves more than a million without electricity. Echoes of Texas’ own power grid issues? We’ll explore. And as the U.S. moves to over the counter hearing aids, privacy advocates are raising concerns. We’ll hear why plus a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 13, 2022

At the hearings on the January 6th insurrection, the spotlight turns to the some potentially key figures from Texas. We’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re tracking: an 85 billion dollar ten year transportation plan for Texas. What it includes and what it leaves out as the state tries to deal with a growing population. And with that growing population, a boom in new home construction. But why so many delays in finishing projects? Plus water levels low on many Texas rivers and questions about whether businesses catering to river recreation will sink or swim. And the Mexican activists fielding calls from Texans seeking abortions. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 17, 2022

Is there a big push for Governor Abbott at the Texas GOP Convention? Not exactly… Sergio Martínez-Beltrán of the Texas Newsroom with the latest. Other stories we’re tracking, more warnings of record demand for electricity in coming days as Texas tries to beat the heat. While wind and solar getting credit for helping us avoid major blackouts, why these ongoing warnings? And is Texas moving quickly enough to meet constantly growing demand? Also, a new massive SpaceX rocket test cleared for liftoff in South Texas? The FAA imposes new restrictions. And reflections on Juneteenth: do Black Texans consider themselves really free? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 25, 2022

As the U.S. places troops on high alert, Texans continue to track developments in Ukraine and whether there are yet ways to stop a war. Texas-based geopolitical scholar Jeremi Suri joins us to talk about whether there’s still a diplomatic option as tensions rise over Ukraine. Meanwhile, The standard’s Jill Ament reports how Ukrainian Americans here in Texas are congregating in solidarity. Also, Texas among the top states for eviction filings, even as unspent dollars or pandemic rent relief go back to Washington unspent. Plus when you turn off location tracking, is Google still following you? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 3, 2022

With schools statewide returning to classes and Omicron cases rising, many Texans are asking: now what? Some answers from a doctor today on the Texas Standard.
Other stories we’re tracking- the US Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week over Biden Administration vaccination mandates. We’ll have the latest. Also, the 5th Circuit is set to hear arguments in another challenge to SB8- the state’s new abortion restrictions.
Earthquakes spark an order from state officials affecting fracking in the Midland area.
And, you’ve seen the bumper sticker “Don’t California my Texas”? Why some in South Texas are now saying don’t “Austin-ify our Brownsville”. Those stories and more.

Texas Standard: September 28, 2021

People of color accounted for 95% of Texas population boom in the last decade. What does this mean for political maps? Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune helps us read between the boundary lines. Also hurricane season doesn’t end til November 30th, but is it already over for Texas? A team of Texas meteorologists with a bold prediction. And trouble for Houston’s former top cop Miami chief Art Acevedo…we’ll hear why. And the passing of a transformative force in higher education, remembering UTEP’s Diana Natalicio. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 1, 2021

A new abortion law takes effect in Texas. Not only does it effectively prohibit abortions after five or six weeks, it deputizes private citizens to enforce it. We’ll hear about the implications. Also a look at some of the less well known provisions taking effect as Texas law today ranging from homelessness to the Star Spangled Banner. Plus Boca Chica we have a problem… friction between SpaceX and the folks who live near the south Texas launch site. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Long Before Elon Musk, A Different Man Had A Plan To Develop Boca Chica

One hundred years ago, Col. Sam Robertson stood on the same Boca Chica Beach in South Texas that Elon Musk owns today and dreamed a different dream. Instead of Musk’s spaceport, Robertson dreamed of seaports and an oceanside highway.  

Robertson owned 800 acres at Boca Chica, about 20 miles northeast of Brownsville and it was likely some of the same thousand acres now managed by Musk’s companies. Back then, Robertson built the railroad that connected the Rio Grande Valley to the wider world. He had founded the town of San Benito, serving as sheriff and helping to run the Ku Klux Klan out of the region.  

He had repurposed the old channels known as resacas to irrigate the lower valley. In 1926, he gathered RGV leaders in Brownsville’s El Jardin Hotel to make his pitch for an oceanside highway that would run from Boca Chica all the way up Padre Island to Corpus Christi. It would become, in his words, “the most beautiful 150 miles of highway in the world.”  

Robertson laid out his vision before the Rio Grande Valley Commercial Club. “I have traveled somewhat extensively in this world,” he said, “and have never seen any scenery wilder or more beautiful than this stretch of beach.”

Robertson was not only an entrepreneur; he was a decorated soldier and noted engineer. In 1915, he served as a scout for General Jack Pershing in the pursuit of Pancho Villa in Mexico. During World War I, he served in Europe as a commander of the 22nd Engineers, building railroads and bridges for Allied troops in France. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for bravery under fire. 

The business leaders of the Valley trusted his vision because they believed his claims. He wasn’t pitching a blacktop road. 

“The beach is as smooth as a billiard table,” Robertson said. “No road can be constructed by man as good for autoing as the beach, and the Gulf of Mexico maintains it.” All you would need is maintenance crews to move driftwood out of the way, he said, telling those assembled that he had explored the beach from Corpus Christi to the mouth of the Rio Grande River and that a highway was quite possible and would bring in enormous numbers of tourists. Just “throw across” some bay bridges at either end, he suggested, and you’d be open for business.  

Such a development would be good for the Rio Grande Valley, too, he argued. With good roads to Boca Chica Beach, Valleyites could have a Sunday lunch at home, then drive to the beach for a Sunday afternoon swim at the beach and still be home by 10 p.m. 

Robertson’s oceanside highway was never developed. But looking at South Padre and North Padre today, just north of Boca Chica with their causeway bridges, carefully maintained beaches, opulent hotels and verdant landscaping, you can see that his dream for the island has been partially realized. 

Robertson opened his Del Mar Resort on Boca Chica Beach in 1931, but the resort was virtually wiped out by a hurricane two years later. He rebuilt within six months and constructed an asphalt road from Brownsville to Boca Chica Beach because his personal mantra was: “Civilization follows transportation.” 

Musk would like that, too.

Texas Standard: May 12, 2021

A 15 billion windfall for Texas, relief funds much larger than the pandemic’s projected economic impact here. Where will the money go? Todd Gilman of the Dallas Morning News with more on how federal pandemic relief money could lead to raises for firefighters, infrastructure changes, and more. Also, the boom in the hispanic population in Texas. Does it equal political gains for the GOP? Arelis Hernandez of the Washington Post on how the numbers add up. And FDA approval for kids as young as 12 to to get vaccinated against COVID-19. How soon will shots be ready for Texas adolescents? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard: