Firefly Space Systems, a private company expected to break ground in Burnet County, specializes in customized small rocket technology primarily used to launch small satellites into space. The California-based corporation is among a "rise of the boutique rocket firms" in Central Texas inspired by the Waco-based SpaceX program. Photo Courtesy SpaceX
CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BRIGGS — California-based Firefly Space Systems has purchased 200acres in far north Burnet County to begin constructing small rockets used to transport satellites into space.Officials believe that once Firefly Space Systems establishes its business on the land just off U.S. 183, near the intersection of CR 210, the industry could provide an economic boost to the area.
“New construction cost will be added to the rolls which will bring in tax dollars in the future,” said Burnet County Precinct 2 Commissioner Russell Graeter. “It also would bring in possible sales tax to our ESD #8 which covers the Briggs-Oakalla area.
“A lot of the jobs they’ll be looking for are engineers, but when you have a facility like that you’ll be looking for maintenance and secretarial (people) that could pick up some good local jobs,” he added.
The company could start with a dozen employees and eventually expand to 200, Graeter said.
According to their website, www.fireflyspace.com, the company touts the “rise of the boutique rocket firms” inspired by SpaceX.
Those firms have begun popping up in Texas not far from the privately funded SpaceX program outside Waco. SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches rockets and other spacecraft.
Firefly is expected to form possible collaborations with SpaceX and similar entities around the country.
“Private industry has taken over (space research and technology),” Graeter said.
The company is expected to break ground sometime next week on a 75×100-ft. building and a test pad at the site.
The site is 30 miles north of Burnet in a vast unincorporated area of the county.
Graeter said the company eventually rejected Williamson County property to select the Burnet County site instead.
“I think this is something that once they get rolling out there, it’s something that the Burnet Independent School District or Marble Falls could look at getting into some training that would field (students) in that direction,” Graeter said. “The little grocery store, the new restaurant that recently opened — it will benefit a lot of people in the area of Briggs. I’m hoping it will be a domino effect where it will spur some growth out there.”