NASA Cedes Control of Shuttle Landing Facility to Space Florida

Space Florida and NASA announced a partnership to utilize the Shuttle Landing Facility (pictured above) for commercial purposes. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

Space Florida and NASA announced a partnership to utilize the Shuttle Landing Facility (pictured above) for commercial purposes. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla — On Friday, June 28, NASA announced that Space Florida will now be responsible for the management of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The runway, which is 15,000 feet long and 300 feet wide, hosted 70 shuttle landings over a period of 30 years. Its next mission may be to provide resources for commercial aerospace businesses in the State of Florida.

This partnership was announced at a press conference by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and KSC Director Bob Cabana at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.

“This agreement will continue to expand Kennedy’s viability as a multi-user spaceport and strengthen the economic opportunities for Florida and the nation,” Bolden said. “It also continues to demonstrate NASA’s commitment and progress in building a strong commercial space industry so that American companies are providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit destinations.”

[youtube_video]http://youtu.be/9xSEGBRFX1w[/youtube_video]

Video courtesy of AmericaSpace

Cabana added: “The SLF is a significant asset for the center that ties our historical past to the vision of the future. I had the privilege of landing two space shuttle orbiters at the facility and look forward to beginning discussions with Space Florida on a future partnership that will fully utilize this unique resource.”

Space Florida President Frank DiBello remarked: “The SLF provides a unique capability for new and expanding suborbital launch providers, unmanned aerial vehicle operators, and other aerospace-related businesses to thrive in a location that maximizes
the resources of the space center and Eastern Range operations. We look forward to working with NASA and KSC leadership in the coming months to finalize the details of this transaction in a way that will provide the greatest benefit to incoming commercial aerospace businesses.”

In 2012, NASA issued a request for information from the aerospace industry to identify new ways to utilize existing spaceport infrastructure. It was found that Space Florida’s proposal was highly aligned with KSC’s vision of creating a multiuser facility.

The SLF is the newest addition to Florida’s horizontal, commercial launch spaceports, joining Cecil Field in Jacksonville. The SLF was operational in 1976 and has the capability of hosting landings for all types of aircraft and horizontal-landing vehicles.

 

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