Space Shuttle retirement forces NASA to consider other roles for Kennedy Space Center
While its facilities would likely rise far above others, NASA could find some competition in any commercial launch venture. You may recall that in November for example, Masten Space Systems and Space Florida inked an agreement to perform demonstration launches of the space company's suborbital reusable launch vehicle from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. And Spaceport America in New Mexico put out Requests For Proposals for the day-to-day operations as the facility as it revs up for space operations.
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According to NASA: " KSC seeks to strategically identify, develop, and align the Center's distinctive space transportation assets and capabilities with other government and commercial space markets. KSC seeks to expand partnerships, customer base, and regional economic opportunities consistent with the NASA mission. KSC wishes to promote and enable the widest and fullest utilization of KSC assets and facilities to advance the nation's goals for space exploration and development and maximize the nation's investment in the federal spaceport. These efforts are targeted to enhance space launch and processing infrastructure and capabilities available to both the commercial and government launch and space services industry. "
- Launch Complex 39A - Built for the Apollo Program and modified for the Space Shuttle Program, it includes the launch pad, various fluids and gases systems for Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen and the fixed and rotating service structures for the Space Shuttle.
- Launch Complex 39B - Also built for the Apollo Program and modified for the Space Shuttle Program, the 39B site includes the launch pad, various fluids and gases systems including dewars for Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen and standalone lightning protection towers. Use of this facility will likely be on a shared basis with other users, NASA stated.
- Vehicle Assembly Building - This enormous facility contains four high bays, some of which may be made available to non-NASA users for launch vehicle processing and preparation. Use of this facility will likely be on a shared basis with other users, NASA stated.
- Launch Control Center (LCC) - This facility features four "firing" rooms, engineering support areas and administrative offices. The firing rooms, which are essentially control rooms, contain numerous enclosures, computing hardware, software ( operating systems, command/control applications, displays, operating systems, databases), networks, communications equipment, configuration management, information technology security, and other ancillary tools and engineering processes in support of existing and future spacecraft processing and launch.
- Merritt Island Launch Area - This complex of facilities was developed to house telemetry tracking equipment and antennas. It contains several buildings including control rooms, administrative and conference rooms and support buildings. The area also contains several large tracking antennas, NASA stated.