Sunday, December 15, 2013

NASA picks SpaceX for launchpad

LC-39A at Kennedy in 2010. NASA photo
NASA selected Space Exploration Technologies Corp., SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., to begin negotiations on a lease to use and operate historic Launch Complex 39A at the agency's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Permitting use of the pad by a private-sector, commercial space partner will ensure its continued viability and allow for its continued use in support of U.S. space activities. NASA will keep 39B for its own use. NASA is transforming KSC to make it capable for use by both government and commercial users. Since the late 1960s, Kennedy's launch pads 39 A and B have served as the starting point for America's most significant human spaceflight endeavors -- Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and all 135 space shuttle missions. LC-39A is the pad where Apollo 11 lifted off from on the first manned moon landing in 1969, as well as launching the first space shuttle mission in 1981 and the last in 2011. (Source: NASA, 12/13/13) SpaceX will be testing its Raptor engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss.