Why Does Space Florida Need Its Own Spaceport?

FAA Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement: Shiloh Launch Complex

"Based on comments received during the scoping period, the FAA may analyze additional alternatives. However, at this time, the alternatives under consideration include the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, the FAA would not issue a Launch Site Operator License to Space Florida."

Federal review set for Fla. plan to build site for rocket launches, Washington Post

"Space Florida expects a new center for launches could be largely free of much of the federal red tape and the competing national priorities that can bog down private launches from the nearby Kennedy Space Center or from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch complexes. It's also close enough to the old Kennedy space shuttle landing strip, which Space Florida also is seeking to acquire, that the agency thinks companies could use them together. It's the only place, we believe, that Florida could offer the capability for a purely commercial launch site," said Dale Ketcham, Space Florida's director of strategic alliances. But the spot is within one of the most revered natural places in Florida, a 140,000-acre sanctuary of marshes, beaches, lagoons and abundant wildlife."

Keith's note: Why is more government land needed when so much of KSC and CCAFS's vast real estate already remains unused - and is begging for commercial users? Oh, and at the same time, why go out of your way to pick a national wildlife refuge to destroy? Creating a third spaceport next to KSC and CCAFS will result in duplication of capabilities at a time when consolidation and dual use are what people are striving for. While NASA is moving toward more commercial use of its facilities (LC-39A for example) it is odd that Space Florida wants to go in the opposite direction.

I do not understand how this is going to make things easier since this new spaceport would still need to cooperate with range issues on launches from KSC and CCAFS next door and would be subject to the same weather and face issues with use of a runway deep inside a government facility. They are just going to end up making things more complicated in the Space Coast area rather than less complicated. And just watch as Space Florida sticks their hand out looking for Federal (NASA) money to create this duplicate capability - directly and/or indirectly.

If anything the commercial launch sector ought to be looking for places that do not have space launch neighbors, comparatively blank slates in terms of operational complexity, and better weather - like SpaceX has been seeking to do in Texas. Why should Florida have a near-monopoly on launching things into space?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 30, 2013 8:10 PM.

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