NASA's Kennedy Space Center Wants To Unload Its Rocket Launchers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NASA's Kennedy Space Center Wants To Unload Its Rocket Launchers

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - While NASA considers competing bids to take over a shuttle launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, it's adding three mobile launch platforms to its list of excess equipment available to private industry, officials said Tuesday. Ideally, NASA wants a commercial launch company to take over one or more of the massive steel platforms, which were originally built in 1967 to support the Apollo moon program's Saturn rockets.

The 25-foot-tall (7.6-meter-tall) platforms were later modified for the space shuttles, which flew from 1981 until 2011. Recycling the platforms, which measure 160 feet by 135 feet (50 by 40 meters) is another option, a solicitation on NASA's procurement website shows.

The U.S. space agency also is interested in other uses for the mobile launch platforms, which served as bases to stack and assemble the shuttle and then transport it to the launch pad. The platforms provided power and umbilical connections and had open sections for flames and rocket exhaust to pass through. "At this point, NASA is looking to gauge interest for potential use of the (platforms) and concepts for potential use," spokeswoman Tracy Young said. Proposals are due Sept. 6. Bids from billionairesNASA is already assessing bids for the shuttle launch pad from two competing firms backed by billionaires. NASA is also turning over the shuttle's runway to Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency.

Space Florida, in turn, plans to make the runway and support facilities available to a variety of commercial companies — including privately owned XCOR Aerospace, which is developing a two-person, suborbital spaceship called Lynx that takes off and lands like an airplane. Another potential customer is Stratolaunch Systems, an orbital space vehicle backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The most contentious — and highest-profile — piece of shuttle equipment available is a Kennedy Space Center launch pad that has attracted competing bids from Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, a dot-com billionaire who founded SpaceX and heads the electric car company Tesla Motors. Bezos and Musk are vying for Launch Complex 39A. NASA intends to keep the second shuttle launch pad, 39B, for a new heavy-lift rocket under development called the Space Launch System. California-based SpaceX wants 39A to launch its Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy rockets.

The privately owned firm already flies from a leased launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of Kennedy Space Center. The first Falcon 9 rocket flight from a new launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is scheduled for next month. The company has a backlog of more than 50 launches, including 10 missions to fly cargo for NASA to the International Space Station. SpaceX also is developing a version of its Dragon cargo ship to fly astronauts.

Blue Origin's backersBezos' rocket venture is Blue Origin, which is based in Kent, Wash. Blue Origin submitted an alternative proposal to NASA to run Pad 39A as a multi-user facility. Both firms say they are ready to take over maintenance and operations of the launch pad on Oct. 1. United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, did not bid on the shuttle's launch pad but has publicly endorsed Blue Origin's proposals.

The company, which has a lucrative monopoly on launching U.S. military satellites, is facing its first competition for the business from SpaceX. (Some observers see ULA's support for Blue Origin's bid as a gambit primarily aimed at thwarting SpaceX.) 

The main NASA facilities that will remain are Launch Complex 39B, plus various hangars for the Orion deep-space capsule that's to be launched by NASA's heavy-lift rocket. Orion and the Space Launch System are due to begin test flights in 2017.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Kids walk home due to crowded bus

    Kids walk home due to crowded bus

    Friday, February 23 2018 8:18 PM EST2018-02-24 01:18:23 GMT
    School bus crash in Rathdrum, IDSchool bus crash in Rathdrum, ID
    School bus crash in Rathdrum, IDSchool bus crash in Rathdrum, ID

    Spokane Valley, Wash. As a father of four, Justin Hein was not happy that his 12-year-old daughter and five other students walked over a mile from Centennial Middle School to her home last week, “Kind of Frustrated,” said Hein. He continued by saying, “I had no clue that my kid was even nominated or telling to walk home from school with slippery ice, people driving, that aren't watching where they are going,  and trying to watch a cell phone. And I have to worry

    >>

    Spokane Valley, Wash. As a father of four, Justin Hein was not happy that his 12-year-old daughter and five other students walked over a mile from Centennial Middle School to her home last week, “Kind of Frustrated,” said Hein. He continued by saying, “I had no clue that my kid was even nominated or telling to walk home from school with slippery ice, people driving, that aren't watching where they are going,  and trying to watch a cell phone. And I have to worry

    >>
  • One dead, one injured in crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park

    One dead, one injured in crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:33 AM EST2018-02-24 06:33:14 GMT

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Washington State Patrol is investigating a crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park. WSP officials said they were working to rescue two people who were trapped as a result of the crash Friday evening. Troopers said two cars were involved and there are serious injuries.  Highway 395 is blocked in both directions. Traffic is being divert southbound at Owens and northbound at Burrows.  Avoid the area if possible. 

    >>

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Washington State Patrol is investigating a crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park. WSP officials said they were working to rescue two people who were trapped as a result of the crash Friday evening. Troopers said two cars were involved and there are serious injuries.  Highway 395 is blocked in both directions. Traffic is being divert southbound at Owens and northbound at Burrows.  Avoid the area if possible. 

    >>
  • Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:27 AM EST2018-02-24 05:27:46 GMT

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    >>

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd

    Friday, February 23 2018 4:46 PM EST2018-02-23 21:46:49 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd.

    >>
  • Two kids try 'tall man' trick to sneak into 'Black Panther' movie

    Two kids try 'tall man' trick to sneak into 'Black Panther' movie

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:46 AM EST2018-02-24 05:46:09 GMT
    Pillsbury @stevelikescupsPillsbury @stevelikescups
    Pillsbury @stevelikescupsPillsbury @stevelikescups

    CARSON, Ca. - Two kids eager to see Marvel's "Black Panther" reached into their creative pockets to try and receive a discounted price for admission last weekend, and quickly became a viral sensation. Twitter user Pillsbury posted a video Friday showing himself and another friend disguised as a "tall man" — the disguise where two children stand on top of one another in a large trench coat with some sort of hat — at a movie theater. Their

    >>

    CARSON, Ca. - Two kids eager to see Marvel's "Black Panther" reached into their creative pockets to try and receive a discounted price for admission last weekend, and quickly became a viral sensation. Twitter user Pillsbury posted a video Friday showing himself and another friend disguised as a "tall man" — the disguise where two children stand on top of one another in a large trench coat with some sort of hat — at a movie theater. Their

    >>
  • Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:27 AM EST2018-02-24 05:27:46 GMT

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    >>

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    >>