A New Generation...A Multi-User Spaceport
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:
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.
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.
Licensed Commercial Launches at KSC
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
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.
Learn more about how we will realize our vision
Download a copy of the executive summary
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Let us know!