Elon Musk’s SpaceX will research and design its Mars exploration system, known as Starship, at the Port of Los Angeles after the L.A Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a lease permit for land and facilities.
The deal is still subject to approval from the L.A. City Council, which will vote on it next week.
Should the plans be approved it will see a return to the port for the aerospace technology specialists.
SpaceX used the Port of LA for rocket manufacturing and expanded its operations in May 2018. It also used it for towing its rockets back to land once they had returned from space.
It left the port in January 2019 when it decided to design and build its prototypes near its chief launch site in Texas. Musk explained the decision at the time, saying the size of the rockets made them very hard to transport.
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, there are two reasons behind the change in policy.
The first is a need for extra manufacturing space and the second is that SpaceX wants a location by the sea to transport its products more efficiently than it could by road or rail.
According to a document from the Port of LA dated 13 February 2020, SpaceX wishes to develop new port-based spacecraft production facilities, which could create up to 130 jobs.
The facilities will be built on the same land that SpaceX had previously been given permission to use, at Berth 240 on Terminal Island.