SpaceX Leases Apollo 11 Launchpad for 20 Years
April 16, 2014 1:52 PM
SpaceX will lease Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
, 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
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.
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