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2 Port Isabel retirees unexpectedly get front row seat to SpaceX history

While Boca Chica is the home to the SpaceX Starship manufacturing facility and launch facility, across the water the small town of Port Isabel is a hidden gem with a remarkable view.

Doug Kinne and his wife, Anna Kinne, are the second generation of Kinnes to retire at their seaside cottage in a quaint, fishing town.

“Port Isabel is a hoot. It’s a little seaside town,” said resident Doug Kinne. “It’s a gem.”

His parents bought the property in Long Island Village when there barely any properties.

“They wanted it because at that time absolutely nothing was being built. It was very quiet. They could see the Gulf of Mexico, the island, and the Brownsville shipping channel. They had a great view of nature, wildlife and eventually something they never quite expected,” Doug Kinne said. “Now we have a great view of rockets.”

They know their corner lot would have these front seats.

“Being that we are five miles away, you’ll see the flash and then you hear it in about four or five seconds,” Doug Kinne said.

Slowly, they watched the horizon change: construction, then cranes, then buildings and bays. His wife Anna nicknamed the buildings.

“Baby Boom, Mama Boom and Papa Boom Bay!” Anna Kinne laughed. She started to know everything there was to know about the Starship program and learned to recognize the prototypes.

“She just picked up with it and ran,” Doug Kinne said. “She knows the difference between a thrust puck and a burst disc.”

Doug Kinne learned too.

“First of all, they do blow up,” he laughed.

An occasional bang is now an issue for the Kinnes. In fact, they said they love watching the workers’ drive.

“I was like ‘Okay, this is just getting better!’” Doug Kinne said.

They said most of all, they’re thankful that SpaceX founder Elon Musk has inspired the Apollo generation and future generations again.

“This energy has brought all that back and more,” Doug Kinne said.