SpaceX to bid for rights to historic NASA launch pad

Dec 13, 2013
Members of the media and specatators line the shore of a lake at dawn as they watch space shuttle Atlantis on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In a battle of technology titans for the right to lease a historic NASA launch pad in Florida, SpaceX has beat out competitor Blue Origin, the US space agency said Friday.

The California-based SpaceX is owned by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, and Blue Origin is a venture of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

"NASA will begin working with SpaceX to negotiate the terms of its lease for LC-39A," the agency said in a statement, referring to the name of the launchpad.

"During those ongoing negotiations, NASA will not be able to discuss details of the pending lease agreement."

SpaceX became the first private company to send an unmanned cargo capsule to the International Space Station in 2012, and has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 ISS supply trips.

Blue Origin is working on a rocket-propelled vehicle designed to fly people just to the edge of space, in suborbit. It also has plans to develop a reusable booster rocket and a space vehicle that could reach orbit.

Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office that claimed NASA was unfairly favoring one proposed use of the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center over others.

The GAO denial of that protest means SpaceX can now move ahead with NASA negotiations to lease the Cape Canaveral launch pad from where the iconic Apollo moon missions and space shuttle flights both blasted off.

NASA will reserve its other key , 39B, for its own use as it develops a deep space launch system and multipurpose vehicle that will someday carry humans to an asteroid and even Mars, the said.

The pad SpaceX will bid on, LC-39A, was the launch spot for the Apollo 11 on its first manned mission to land on the Moon in 1969, the first in 1981 and the last shuttle mission in 2011.

Explore further: After two delays, SpaceX counts down to satellite launch (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SpaceX postpones first satellite launch

Nov 29, 2013

Private US company SpaceX postponed the launch of a rocket carrying its first telecommunications satellite on Thursday after two unsuccessful attempts at take-off.

SpaceX delays ISS launch again

May 02, 2012

The US company SpaceX on Wednesday said it was unlikely to meet a planned May 7 launch to send its Dragon space capsule to the International Space Station, but did not set a new date for the attempt.

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

6 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

6 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

7 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Apr 16, 2014

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

davidivad
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
now that is sure proof of competitive spirit. I hope blue origin finds a good launch site.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2013
now that is sure proof of competitive spirit. I hope blue origin finds a good launch site.
Perhaps they will want to team up with a foreign country like Mexico. Luxury trips to space might appeal to people who spend their time on the Mexican riviera.

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...