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SpaceX will lease Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

According to Space.com, SpaceX will lease Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in a 20-year agreement with NASA. The launchpad will be modified for SpaceX's purposes while also preserving the historic aspects.
 
Launch Complex 39A saw 11 Apollo missions, including the Apollo 11 flight that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon. It also saw the first and last Space Shuttle launch
 
"Pad 39A is a historic pad, as we all know, and I am so excited that NASA selected us to be one of their partners and also to be their partner in developing 39A as we move forward into the future of space launch," said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer.


"We'll make great use of this pad, I promise." 

SpaceX plans on launching its first Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy early next year. 

NASA last used launchpad 39A in 2011 when the Space Shuttle program concluded. It then opened the pad for tours in 2012, and put it up for lease in 2013 when it no longer wanted to pay the maintenance costs of something it wasn't using. 

SpaceX and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin were both up for the lease, but SpaceX ended up winning, as it already completed missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and has a contract with NASA. Blue Origin was busy trying to persuade NASA to allow multiple companies to use the pad.

In the meantime, NASA will use Launch Complex 39B for its own Space Launch System, which is a heavy rocket meant to take astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid around 2025 and Mars in 2030. 

Source: Space.com



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Amazing how much SpaceX is disrupting the industry
By Mint on 4/16/2014 2:32:58 PM , Rating: 1
Recently, they were trying to get the DoD to accept bids from them at $90M/launch, as opposed to the $380M/launch they're paying for United Space Alliance (Lockheed/Boeing joint venture).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he0-SP-BnCQ

I don't know how you even begin to figure out that you can beat the incumbents on cost when contemplating whether or not to start a rocket company, let alone actually do it. Musk must've been high as a kite when going down this road.




By atechfan on 4/16/2014 2:37:25 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think it would be difficult to beat Lockheed on cost for anything. When have they ever came close to budget?


By danjw1 on 4/16/2014 2:59:34 PM , Rating: 3
I think that is pretty much true for any company in the military contractor business. Singling out Lockheed when Boeing is equally bad, seems silly.


By Guspaz on 4/16/2014 6:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Lockheed and Boeing are, for the purposes of launch services, the same company. They jointly operate the United Launch Alliance, which currently has a total monopoly on US government launches.


By Mint on 4/16/2014 3:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's easy to say that, but who has actually done anything about it? Not many companies are capable of producing what the military asks for, let alone actually bid for contracts.

Space is especially tough for new players to enter the field. How long has Branson's Virgin Galactic been trying to do so?


By Jeffk464 on 4/16/2014 7:54:35 PM , Rating: 3
I think Lockheed and Boeing are just so used to ripping off the government that thinking of being cost effective makes them scratch their heads.


By Mint on 4/16/2014 7:22:23 PM , Rating: 4
First of all, this isn't about NASA. SpaceX is beating everyone else on price in the commercial launch sector as well, including Russia, India, and China. Over half of SpaceX's upcoming business is from the commercial sector. Even United Launch Alliance, with all their investment from Lockheed and Boeing, is using Russian rockets.

Secondly, how the **** could Musk know that? It's ridiculously hard to get cost estimates for that until you're already tens of millions into the business. This isn't like building a car, where there's countless suppliers making everything for you.

BTW, do you mean ISS?

Also, empire building happens in big companies just as much, if not more. You should listen to Marc Tarpenning's talk on cofounding Tesla.


By Arkive on 4/17/2014 1:21:24 PM , Rating: 2

I'm curious, what is the point of your post? Are you suggesting they offered pipe dreams and then didn't deliver? Or are you actually suggesting that they should have just let those companies continue to rip off everyone who needed a launch vehicle (or at worst undercut them by just a tiny margin)?


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