Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NASA: KSC Must Compete for Commercial Launch Services

An article in today's Florida Today reports that private companies flying NASA astronauts in the future won't be required to launch from Kennedy Space Center.

"The goal is to give the companies the flexibility needed to make a successful business of launching customers other than NASA, which is critical to the agency's hopes to reduce costs," according to the article by reporter James Dean.

The article also notes, "NASA would establish levels of oversight depending on the type of vehicles being flown and their history before certifying them as safe for astronauts to fly. But the commercial providers generally would be responsible for launching the rockets and maintaining facilities, including decisions about where and how missions launch and land."

The policy may be a response to a statement by Florida's U.S. Senator Bill Nelson who told a Brevard Community College space forum on March 19 that he was writing legislation that would force commercial launchers to use Cape Canaveral as their launch site. The idea was also proposed by Florida Today in a March 11 editorial.

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