NASA turns to private sector to take over retired shuttle launch pad

Here’s one about the government not letting something go to waste.

A launch pad at Cape Canaveral, left idle by the demise of the space shuttle program in July 2011, is available for use by a private company able to pay for the upkeep.

According to a Reuters report, NASA has put out a lease notice for the launch pad for at least a five-year agreement.

Under the Commercial Space Launch Act, the U.S. government encourages private companies to take over retired space facilities that would otherwise go unused. Under the lease proposal released by NASA, private companies will get the use of the equipment for free, but be responsible for all maintenance and operating costs.

The history of what’s officially  known as “Launch Complex 39A” spans from the Apollo launches of the 1960s to the end of the shuttle program.

The Reuters report identifies one possible user for the site as Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, which ran its most recent unmanned supply mission to the International Space Station in March.

That mission launched from an Air Force pad at Cape Canaveral, near the one NASA is putting out for lease.

NASA is seeking to have a lease agreement by Oct. 1, the Reuters report said.


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