Kennedy Space Center Master Plan

A New Generation...A Multi-User Spaceport

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Space


In 2001, the State of Florida recognized space as an official 5th mode (in addition to air, land, sea, and rail) of transportation.  This official classification bolstered KSC’s quinti-modal transportation network status and distinguishes the spaceport as having a more diverse variety of transportation modes than any other developed spaceport in the world.

 

KSC’s space transportation options include four existing vertical launch pads, with the capacity to expand through the addition of two new vertical launch pads to support a variety of launch vehicles and market entrants. These options include the following:

 

  • Space Launch Complex-41 – This pad is used by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the Atlas V rocket.
  • Launch Pad 39B is currently under renovation to accommodate NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). 
  • Launch Pad 39A is currently undergoing renovation by SpaceX under a 20-year lease agreement. SpaceX will launch both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy from this pad.
  • One potential new vertical launch area, Launch Pad 49, could be sited to the north of Pad 39B.  This location avoids overflight issues with Pad 39B and minimizes conflict with the Canaveral National Seashore, giving potential non-NASA entities a flexible set of operational options.  In addition, Pad 49 could use Beach Road as an access road, allowing for more autonomous operations and the option to operate outside of KSC’s secured area
  • Another potential vertical launch site, Launch Pad 48, could serve non-NASA entities and would accommodate small and/or medium class vehicles. This area is sited south of Pad 39A and north of Space Launch Complex-40.

Vertical Landing

One key factor in lowering the price point on access to space is the reusability of the launch vehicle.  Several companies have researched and developed fly-back technologies and at CCAFS, Landing Complex 1 has already been used by SpaceX for a rocket return.  KSC envisions accommodating this type of activity if the demand increases.

 

Eastern Range

With the expansion of new entrants into the launch industry, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have been re-examining which government-related processes need to be followed or adopted by commercial launch operators.  KSC and CCAFS have long worked together under the Webb-McNamara Agreement, which gave the DoD the responsibility to be the single manager responsible for “range facilities of the Atlantic Missile Range” and to “provide common range services to all missile and space vehicle launch programs of the DoD and NASA.”  This was done primarily to prevent duplicate facilities or resources on these neighboring federal properties.

 

FAA Licensed Commercial Launches at KSC

 

However, Webb-McNamara never envisioned commercial (non-NASA) launching/landing/reentry activities at KSC, which would have a licensing requirement administered by the Secretary of Transportation. In October 2016, NASA the FAA and the DoD came to agreement that the FAA licensing process would be the single process used to satisfy launch obligations for commercial missions. Additionally, there is no requirement for commercial launch providers to use Air Force-specific safety standards or services for launches from NASA-KSC. This new agreement between NASA, the FAA and DoD would give commercial launch providers the option to use traditional Eastern Range assets or other FAA-approved venues. As the cadence of launch operations increases at the KSC Spaceport, NASA is determined to continually reevaluate which processes it requires for commercial operators on KSC property.  

 

Crawlerway

The crawlerway used by NASA’s crawler-transporters to carry launch vehicles to the pads is currently being upgraded to meet the specifications of the Space Launch System (SLS) Program. While no expansion of the capability is planned during the horizon of this master plan, the crawlerway does have the capacity to support other users launching from Pad 39B.  NASA would not be expected to subsidize the cost of such improvements.



 

 

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