Kennedy Space Center Master Plan

A New Generation...A Multi-User Spaceport

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Sustainability Strategy


The unique relationship between space flight and protection of natural resources is carefully orchestrated to ensure that both objectives are achieved with minimal conflict. KSC has designated undeveloped portions of its land to be managed for wildlife habitat conservation, and, as a conditional and non-interfering use, public access for recreation to pristine coastal beaches, inland waterways, and nature trails. KSC has a strong working relationship with the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge who manages all undeveloped land at KSC via prescribed burns, wildlife management, etc., resulting in billions of dollars saved by NASA.  In addition to development constraints associated with sensitivity to KSC’s natural environment, the built environment has key characteristics unique to a spaceport that influence development suitability and development capacity. These considerations include Quantity Distance (QD) arcs, lines of site and vehicle impact limit lines. Principles that have historically guided land use planning at KSC include risk avoidance for the general public and risk management for KSC personnel. This includes separating the general public from launch hazards by establishing significant safety buffers, and limiting access to hazardous areas by KSC personnel except as appropriate. 

Sustainability Goals

Developed in conjunction with KSC’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, the Master Plan’s sustainability strategy aligns with KSC’s policy to execute NASA’s mission without compromising the planet’s resources.  In support of Executive Order 13693 (E.O. 13693) “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”, each agency developed targets and strategies for items outlined in E.O. 13693.   KSC should focus on these strategies that could most significantly contribute to achieving NASA’s sustainability goals given its geography, mission, and types of operations. 


Energy – By FY2025, reduce energy intensity in federal buildings by 25% relative to FY2015 baseline

  • Ensure that the total amount of building electric and thermal energy is at least 25% accounted for by renewable or alternative clean energy by FY2025
  • Install renewable on-site capabilities for renewable energy certificates (RECs)
  • Optimize data center performance, efficiencies, and tracking capabilities by installing and monitoring advanced energy meters
  • Install combined heat and power processes and/or fuel cell energy systems on site at federal facilities where possible

Water – By FY2025, achieve a 36% reduction in potable water consumption relative to FY2007 baseline

  • Install advanced water meters to measure and monitor potable and industrial, landscaping and agricultural water use
  • Minimize outdoor water use, utilizing alternative water sources as much as possible
  • Design and deploy water closed-loop, capture, recharge, and/or reclamation systems
  • Develop and implement programs to educate employees about methods to minimize water use

Facilities – Ensure all new construction of federal buildings greater than 5,000 square feet be designed to achieve energy net-zero where feasible by FY2030

  • In all new agency lease solicitation over 10,000 rentable square feet, include criteria for energy efficiency as a performance specification or source selection evaluation factor
  • Incorporate green building specifications into all new construction or renovation projects to ensure appropriate projects include LEED objectives
  • Improve existing building performance by ensuring compliance with ‘Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings’ where possible
  • Identify cost-effective strategies to optimize space usage in buildings with excess capacity
  • Incorporate climate-resilient design and management elements into the operation, repair, and renovation of existing buildings and the design of new buildings

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) - Reduce GHG emissions by at least 40% by FY2025 from a FY2008 baseline

  • Evaluate the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) GHG emission report annually to determine the top 3 emission categories and investigate alternative for implementation.  KSC will continue to implement energy efficiency and alternative energy projects
  • Reduce employee business ground and air travel when possible, with more emphasis on remote meetings and webinar training events
  • Increase number of employees eligible for telework, evolving to an environment in which this practice is more acceptable when applicable

Vehicle Fleet – By FY2025, achieve a 30% reduction in fleetwide per mile greenhouse gas emissions

  • Plan for agency fleet composition such that 20% of passenger vehicle acquisitions are zero emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2020, and 50% by 2025
  • Optimize/right-size the composition of the fleet by reducing vehicle size, eliminating underutilized vehicles, and acquiring vehicles to match local fuel infrastructure
  • Increase utilization of alternative fuel in dual-fuel vehicles

Climate Change/Sea Level Rise


Much of KSC land areas are low-lying, poorly drained, and vulnerable to inundation by periodic storm events. These low-lying areas are also most at risk to be affected by global climate change in future decades.  Conservative climate models project that the seas off Kennedy will rise 5 to 8 inches by the 2050s, and 9 to 15 inches by the 2080s.  Those numbers could become 21 to 24 inches by the 2050s and 43 to 49 inches by the 2080s if Arctic ice sheets continue melting at a rapid rate.  Additionally, due to effects from Hurricane Sandy, KSC initiated a dune restoration project in 2014 that brought in 90,000 cubic yards of sand to create a 1.2-mile secondary dune on top of former rail line that was not being utilized. Roughly 180,000 plugs of native dune grasses and other vegetation were planted to hold the sand in place.  This measure has proven successful so far in protecting critical launch infrastructure along the coast.  KSC should continue to invest in these types of options to protect critical but vulnerable NASA and non-NASA launch infrastructure especially susceptible to sea level rise and storm impacts.  An environmental assessment is underway that is considering multiple options to prevent further beach erosion along the additional 4 miles of beach separating launch infrastructure from the coast that does not provide sufficient protection against sea level rise.

Areas containing existing facilities or structures that are in 0-1.20 meters NAVD (North American Vertical Datum) should be assessed relative to anticipated future climate and weather conditions. Where practical, these functions should be relocated to ground 1.82 meters (approximately 6 feet) or above where required.  For existing critical facilities within the 500 year flood plain, options should be considered to harden them or move important labs, storage, and assembly rooms off the ground floor.  For launch facilities, which must remain along the shore, beach replenishment, sea wall repair, and dune building should become part of routine maintenance.  KSC’s central campus development concept (provide link) provides a strategy for locating future NASA development in these areas least vulnerable to sea level rise.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy creation will be supported to complement the existing KSC energy portfolio.  KSC is a prime location for the utilization of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy creation due to Florida’s abundance of year-round sunlight.  All future NASA facilities will be required to meet net-zero requirements, in that all of their energy needs are required to be derived from renewable sources.  PV expansion provides the greatest opportunity to grow KSC’s on-site renewable energy portfolio and contribute to facility net-zero requirements. 

Since 2008, KSC has more than doubled its solar photovoltaic energy creation from 1Mw to 2.5Mw representing almost 3% of KSC’s utility requirements.  With its location on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR), identifying areas for future growth without impacting protected wildlife is the challenge.  To meet this challenge, KSC is actively looking at repurposing parking lots and previously developed sites to find creative solutions to support future growth of solar capabilities that meet facility sustainability requirements while minimizing impacts on KSC’s valued wildlife. 

Additionally, KSC should continue to strengthen its partnership with Florida Power & Light (FPL) by considering further expansion of their solar energy production portfolio by utilizing on previously disturbed land outside of the NASA secured perimeter as identified in the future land use plan.   

Recent technological advances in wind technology such as bladeless wind turbines could also prove to be well suited for KSC’s location in a wildlife refuge and have been demonstrated across NASA to be beneficial when incorporated into facility design.

Banana River Restoration

In support of the space program in the 1960s, NASA constructed the iconic crawlerway, providing a unique transportation method for multi-ton rockets to roll from the VAB to LC-39A and LC-39B.  The fill required large amounts of fill to be placed in Banana Creek, forming a peninsula connecting Merritt Island to the mainland and subsequently dividing the Banana River into northern and southern lagoons.  Along with the construction of the NASA Causeway connecting KSC and CCAFS, these changes to the land’s natural environment have caused detrimental effects to wildlife and the elimination seagrass in the Banana River.  To counteract these negative impacts, KSC should explore options such as a culvert analysis that would improve the river’s natural flow and assist restoring it to its original state. 


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