SpaceX eyeing facility for reused Falcon 9 stages
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Port Canaveral’s Chief Executive Officer John Murray told Florida Today that SpaceX will be moving some of its operations to the Florida Space Coast. The plans include leasing a building that once housed Spacehab and building a new building next door to that site to support the refurbishment of the rocket stages they are landing at Cape Canaveral.
According to the Florida Today story, SpaceX has needed more room for its operations in Florida since it started landing the first stages of Falcon 9 rockets back at Cape Canaveral after they have sent their payloads to orbit.
SpaceX has recovered six stages since December 2015, two on land, four on an autonomous spaceport drone ship positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first of those stages is now on permanent display in front of SpaceX’s corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The company hopes to reuse those stages on future flights as part of its effort to reduce the costs associated with sending payloads to orbit.
Company spokesman John Taylor told Florida Today: “With SpaceX’s recent progress in recovering [the] first stage Falcon 9 boosters, we’re looking to expand our facilities on the Space Coast to support rocket refurbishment.”
Port Canaveral’s John Murray indicated that SpaceX’s lease agreement would be put before the Port’s commissioners for approval in the next month or so. Under a temporary property use permit, SpaceX should be able to move into the former Spacehab building on the North side of the Port right away.
According to a recent real estate brochure for the property, the facility includes a Class 100,000 clean room, a 30-ton crane, control room, clean room lab, and conference rooms.
In response to a Spaceflight Insider inquiry regarding SpaceX’s future plans, Taylor said, “We are pleased to have been granted temporary use of this facility to give us time to evaluate the building’s suitability to support SpaceX’s business in Florida on a longer term basis.”
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.