Sunday, August 21, 2011

Commercial Operators Move In

Space News reports, "Privately owned U.S. space companies are preparing to move into high-value launch support facilities in Florida, partially filling a vacuum left by the end of the space shuttle program and the retiring of the Delta 2 expendable rocket."

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) already has confirmed that it will use money from the state of Florida to expand its presence at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Meanwhile, an announcement is expected in the coming weeks from NASA regarding bids from industry to take over shuttle facilities at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

Spacex has taken over the old Hangar AO at CCAFS, dubbing it "Hangar X."

The article reports:

SpaceX also is getting state money to tune up a payload processing and integration facility at the Cape’s Space Launch Complex 40, the long-serving Titan 3 and Titan 4 launch pad SpaceX last used in December to launch its first demonstration mission of cargo-carrying Dragon capsule.

Over at KSC, NASA has received "several dozen viable responses" to its offer to lease launch support infrastructure at the space center to commercial interests.

“There are a wide variety of cats and dogs in that list” of interested parties, Dale Ketcham, director of the Spaceport Research & Technology Institute at KSC said. His characterization of the disparate uses to which responders intend to put KSC infrastructure was informed by conversations with NASA, he said.

Some of the entities that want to move into Kennedy “are involved in traditional human spaceflight or launch operations [which is] more traditional KSC work,” Ketcham said. “But a fair number of those credible respondents were new types of work for KSC, more in the technology development and less in the pure launch operations.”

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