HOUSTON – SpaceX Starship enthusiasts know just how rough it can get waiting for a launch. One Houstonian experienced this first-hand and turned his own vision into reality -- creating the ultimate space pad Airbnb for many space enthusiasts to rent.
David Santilena is no stranger to Space City.
“I live in Kingwood,” Santilena said.
However, 400 miles away in the rugged terrain of Boca Chica, just 8 miles from the SpaceX Launch Facility, he’s managed to create the ultimate space lover’s experience, Rocket Ranch.
“So this is our clubhouse,” Santilena said, taking KPRC 2 through the Airbnb he built from basically nothing but wilderness. The multi-room ranch has a full-kitchen, coffeeroom area, living room and outside amenities, filled with decor space enthusiasts would appreciate.
“The different decor is kind of tying in the old vintage 60′s with the current modern space theme,” Santilena said.
Photos of different planets, milestone space exploration achievements and touches of trivial space gadgets fill the space. Every detail is intentional.
“This is our galactic window. This right here was inspired by a quote from Elon about the window of opportunity being open right now, so we wanted to have a symbol of something that represented that,” Santilena said.
This all started when he went to see a SpaceX launch at the Cape.
“I thought it was just going to be me and few other people, but drove 24 hours from Houston and got there at 2 a.m. There were hundreds of cars out there,” Santilena said.
He knew there was an opportunity to create something special.
“They were starting about talking about a Boca Chica facility, so I started looking on Zillow,” Santilena said.
In January, he bought the property, which had been on the market for a year.
“It was covered with brush, with thorns, with Mesquite trees,” Santilena said.
The quarantine period allowed him the time to clear out the brush and build. The Rocket Ranch has a room for people to park cars, boats, RVs.
“We have these old vintage campers,” Santilena said.
There’s also a grill and a firepit, all space-themed.
At the end of the day, he said he wanted to build a place fans could go to build community.
“It’s just a place people can come and have a good time. Most of the people will be space fans, so there’s that in common,” Santilena said.
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