No New Pad Development at KSC

Thanks, but no thanks Credit : NASA

Thanks, but no thanks
Credit : NASA

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has seen a number of exciting developments announced in recent years as it undergone a largely successful transition from the Shuttle era to becoming a “21st Century Spaceport.” While there is quite a bit underway on KSC proper, including the conversion of Pad 39B for SLS, and SpaceX’s high profile transformation of Pad 39A for Falcon Heavy, many other developments are actually taking place at immediately adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Earlier this year, NASA inquired as to whether or not there was sufficient industry demand for two proposed vertical launch pads, labelled 49 and 48 respectively, which would be developed immediately north and south of Launch Complex 39 respectively. For the time being at least, the answer appears to be “no.”

Kennedy Space Center Press Release:

October 22, 2015
Kennedy Space Center Issues Results of Land Use Call for Proposals

After thorough consideration of the proposals received to develop additional commercial vertical launch capabilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the center has decided not to select a partner at this time.

Kennedy is transforming as a multi-user spaceport under a 20-year master plan. As part of that plan, the center released an Announcement for Proposals (AFP) June 2 to alert the public to a potential opportunity to develop commercial vertical launch capabilities at two launch sites on Kennedy Space Center.

Several major aerospace launch providers already are located at Kennedy and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. An initial market analysis, more than a year before issuing the AFP, indicated there may be a need for more.

A review of the AFP proposals and the current commercial market demand indicated the market wasn’t sufficiently mature to make the commitment NASA sought when it issued the announcement.

The two sites mentioned in the AFP are the only locations in the center’s master plan suitable for vertical launch capabilities. As a result, Kennedy will keep them for this purpose. While no decision has been made at this time to issue another AFP, as demand grows, Kennedy will look to make the sites available for commercial partnerships in the future.


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