SpaceX rumble has residents grumbling

December 16, 2021

Make no mistake about, the residents of McGregor are thrilled to have SpaceX in their backyard. They just wish they didn’t hear - and feel - them quite as often.

Recent tests of SpaceX’s new Raptor II engines have raised the concerns of local residents as ground vibrations have reached new alarming levels. The large Raptor II engines are being designed to help SpaceX reach Mars in the future.

The intense rumblings, which are accompanied with louder than normal rumblings, have caused some to wonder if the ferocity of the rumbling could create damage to nearby homes.

McGregor Mayor Jim Hering said city officials were aware of the concerns and were working with SpaceX officials to develop solutions.

“In recent weeks, it is undeniable that the noise and disruption from SpaceX has grown significantly,” said Hering in a letter published in the Mirror. “You are concerned and we are concerned. The council is aware and we are working with SpaceX to resolve the problem.”

Hering said the issue with the more intense ground vibrations stems from SpaceX’s testing of the larger Raptor II engine on the horizontal launch stand. The larger engines, which will power SpaceX’s Starship into space, are considerably larger than the smaller Merlin engines that have been tested in the past.

“As SpaceX has transitioned from the manufacturing and testing of Merlin engines to Raptor engines, the noise and vibration has grown significantly,” he wrote.

Hering said the rumbling will likely continue for 2-3 more weeks until SpaceX officials are able to complete a second vertical launch stand. The new stand will dampen the effects of the engines.

That will, he warned, take some time - and some patience from local residents.

“SpaceX has informed the council that they are pushing to complete the second vertical test bay as soon as possible to further reduce the noise. This will take some time though and a significant sum of SpaceX money. In addition, the issue is likely to be at its worst over the next 2-3 weeks, but this will mean a faster reduction to the noise impact overall.”

Hering said he is confident SpaceX will remedy the situation in the coming weeks.

“Over the years, SpaceX has been a first-class corporate citizen and they have been true to their word,” he said. “I fully believe that when they say they are going to fix an issue, they will do so. Please do your best to be patient as the current situation is resolved.”

Hering said anyone having concerns about physical damage to their property can contact SpaceX via email at

In the meantime, he said the city will continue to keep a watchful eye on the situation.

“The council will continue to monitor progress on this effort and share updates with the McGregor community.”