Space Florida seeking funding to help SpaceX modify LC-39A
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Space Florida, the state’s space business development organization, is helping SpaceX obtain funding from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The $5 million would help the Hawthorne, California-based company modify Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center.
Building on SpaceX-Space Florida relationship
SpaceX’s modifications to LC-39A are meant to prepare the Apollo and Shuttle-heritage launch site for use by the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. If approved, the FDOT funding would come out of a long-term FDOT transportation improvement plan, which treats space-related assets as part of the state’s transportation infrastructure. FDOT will discuss the LC-39A funding during an online board meeting next Wednesday.
With this funding, Space Florida would enter into an agreement with SpaceX. Space Florida helped SpaceX obtain a 20-year lease at LC-39A as well as Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – which was damaged by a destructive pad fire during a static test on September 1.
Meanwhile, on the launch front…
SpaceX suspended its launch operations until they determine the cause of the September 1 anomaly, take any appropriate mitigation steps, and repair SLC-40. Hurricane Matthew also severely damaged the exterior of SpaceX’s Payload Processing Facility near SLC-40 earlier this month.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell expected the company will resume launches before the end of the year.
On the company blog, SpaceX stated: “Getting back to flight safely and reliably is our top priority, and the data gathered from the present investigation will result in an even safer and more reliable vehicle for our customers and partners.”
Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy’s diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.