Spaceflight Insider

Space Florida seeking funding to help SpaceX modify LC-39A

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to be launched from LC-39A

Artist’s depiction of Falcon Heavy rocket on ascent. Image Credit: SpaceX

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.

Reader Comments

I’m guessing the November timeline is out of discussion with this. Just not understanding why SpaceX needs the funding. Sorry

Apparently, FL thinks they gain from big industries like space travel and participates to keep things rolling down the roads in support of that industry.

From the article:
“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.”

I know that SpaceX needs to move large stuff on the roads. This sounds like a typical (and reasonable) gov/private sector partnership to me. SpaceX has the potential to ramp up the industry far faster than the prior and current crowd. Good for the FL economy.

I suspect the transpo infrastructure in and around Canaveral has all sorts of state and federal money in it, therefore nothing new here.

In the now deleted NRO speech transcription he mentioned launching from 39A in December.

This may be as much about establishing/firming up a relationship as anything.

Also, in tonight’s reddit AMA Musk said the construction of the final Falcon 9 upgrade, Block 5, starts in ~3 months, with flights in 6-8 months. Optimized for reuse, new landing legs, and even more thrust were the bullet points. They stated the JCSAT-14 stage had recently been tested at +10% thrust over Full Thrust, so start there. F9 Fuller Thrust? F9 MAX??

I am a little confused. Are they only helping to modify the pad or are they also attempting to speed up the launch schedule?

Wake up ! Elon just bought his forth mansion in California. Maybe if he would sell those he wouldn’t take tax payers money.

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