Recently in Cape Canaveral Category

U.S. Air Force Radar Problem Delays NROL-67 and SpaceX CRS-3 Launches, SpaceRef Business

"A problem with the U.S. Air Force AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) at the Eastern Range, reportedly a fire, has delayed the launch of the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-67 launch and now unofficially SpaceX's launch of the CRS-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station."

According to SpaceX on 20 Sep: "SpaceX has nearly 50 missions on manifest to launch over the proposed 5 year lease period and we can easily make use of the additional launch site. At the time we submitted the bid, SpaceX was unaware any other parties had interest in using the pad. However, if awarded this limited duration lease on 39A, SpaceX would be more than happy to support other commercial space pioneers at the pad, and allow NASA to make use of the pad if need be."

Musk Calls Out Blue Origin, ULA for 'Phony Blocking Tactic' on Shuttle Pad Lease, Space News

"[Blue Origin] has not yet succeeded in creating a reliable suborbital spacecraft, despite spending over 10 years in development," Musk wrote. "If they do somehow show up in the next 5 years with a vehicle qualified to NASA's human rating standards that can dock with the Space Station, which is what Pad 39A is meant to do, we will gladly accommodate their needs. Frankly, I think we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct."

Congress Voices Support for NASA LC 39-A Leasing, earlier post

NASA Seeks Uses for 3 Mobile Launch Platforms at KSC, Florida Today

"Commercial rocket launcher? Museum exhibit? Artificial reef?

All are potential uses for three historic mobile launch platforms from which NASA's moon rockets and space shuttles leapt toward space, but which now sit idle.

If those don't pan out, the two-story, 8.2 million-pound structures could be bound for the scrap heap.

"NASA does not currently have a need for the Mobile Launch Platforms to support current and future mission activities," said Tracy Young, a Kennedy Space Center spokeswoman. "Because of this factor, we are seeking information and concepts for traditional and non-traditional potential use of the structures as well as potential disposal options."

NASA Explores New Uses for Historic Launch Structures, NASA

Lease on Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39 may be near, Bolden says, Florida Today

"A long-term lease of a mothballed Kennedy Space Center launch pad may still be near, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden suggested Wednesday.

At least one company and some members of Congress have asked NASA not to award a single company exclusive use of pad 39A, saying it should be made available to multiple launchers.

But Bolden said it was the neighboring pad 39B, which NASA is overhauling to support its own exploration rocket, that the agency has always envisioned for shared use."

Previous: Fighting Innovation at Pad 39A

Update: Space Florida has sent a letter to NASA Administrator Bolden.

Space Florida Letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: Launch Complex 39A

"Chairman Wolf has long been a champion of a strong and vibrant US space program and we have no doubt his intentions are well founded. However, the nature of this letter, and particularly the subsequent explanatory correspondence provided by Representative Aderholt's staff, seem uncharacteristically random and offer a number of implausible assertions that serve only to obstruct the ongoing KSC process. I believe the Chairman is being poorly advised to follow this course of action.

... We strongly advocate for allowing NASA to continue to transfer its underutilized infrastructure to commercial operators in a fair process with terms and conditions that support a commercially driven business approach. NASA's planned approach on Pad 39A for partnership with private industry will accelerate the capability to deliver not only cargo, but also crew, and quickly end our dependence on other nations to transport our nation's crew to the International Space Station."

Air Force considers privatizing Cape operations, Florida Today

"Under a preliminary concept to be discussed in a public forum Thursday and Friday in Colorado Springs, responsibilities now handled by the 45th Space Wing would be turned over to a spaceport operator approved by the Federal Aviation Administration."

The Fixer-Upper, Space KSC

"Posted on the Federal Business Opportunities web site is an invitation to attend a public forum in Colorado Springs "to discuss a potential future concept to convert the Eastern Range (in part or whole) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) from an Air Force managed range to an FAA-licensed commercial launch site (i.e., a spaceport)."

Marc's note: Now here's an interesting development. While this is still very preliminary, a discussion only, it does reflect the growing move towards the commercial sector and the fiscal reality of the times.

As military-launch costs soar, would-be competitors protest, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA workers looking for a job after space shuttle Atlantis' final flight likely won't have much luck at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which has launched a generation of military and national-intelligence satellites. The military-rocket business isn't doing too well -- at least according to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that manufactures the bulk of the rockets launched into orbit by the military. Company officials said the cost of parts has gone up, and the uncertainty of post-shuttle work at NASA has resulted in subcontractors raising prices. As a result, ULA is sharply increasing the prices it charges the Defense Department to launch military satellites, prompting the Air Force to raise its projected launch costs by nearly 50 percent during the next four years."

NASA held an event that allowed the media to document the arrival of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - 02 (AMS-02) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this week. Members of the media were invited to interview the STS-134 crew and the scientists that are working on this project.

Politics once again swept across Florida's Space Coast area as the Space Industry Report was released this week. The report details recommendations for where $40 million should be spent. Meanwhile, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas toured the region to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs - and a new effort to support the commercial space industry was unveiled.

Some interesting things took place at Cape Canaveral this week, lighting up the region in a number of ways. NASA held a payload event showcasing several of the flight hardware elements that will be aboard the space shuttle Discovery during the STS-133 mission. Included in that event was a demonstration of the humanoid robotic assistant Robonaut 2 that will be aboard Discovery. Over at Cape Canaveral, the Air Force launched the first in a series of next-generation military communications satellites.

As the Senate approved a measure to compromise various political plans that would impact the Space Coast region, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke paid his third visit to the area. This time it was to speak to KSC employees facing unemployment and to tour the space center's facilities. An Atlas V is scheduled to launch the first AEHF-1 satellite on August 12. That same day NASA will host an event that will display the upcoming STS-133 mission's payload. Back over at KSC, elements for the final two scheduled shuttle missions were coming into place.

CAPE CANVERAL - The U.S. Air Force is preparing to launch the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite (AEHF-1) atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on Aug. 12. The launch window will open at 7:13 a.m. it will close about 20 minutes later at 7:34 a.m. EDT. The launch is scheduled to take place at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC 41).

Cape Canaveral reverberated with the effects of politics this week. One of the Republican candidates for Florida governor stumped around the area as space contractor giant United Space Alliance (USA) laid off another 900 employees.

This however did not dissuade Kennedy Space Center Director from predicting a bright future for the space center.

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week that they would shoot for a September launch for the next flight of their Falcon 9 rocket. Space Florida announced it had signed an agreement with a United Kingdom group to help further international commercial space cooperation. Over at OPF-3, Discovery was being readied for what could be her final flight. This week also marks the anniversary of rockets exploring the heavens from Cape Canaveral.

This week at Cape Canaveral the final shuttle mission's external tank arrived. The Air Force announced that the launch of an Atlas V rocket at months' end would slip to August and Orbital would like to launch astronauts from the Cape. This week in Cape History focuses on Apollo 11.

This week at Cape Canaveral saw a whirlwind of activity regarding the end of shuttle era and the future of NASA. A forum was held with the express purpose to generate ideas to find ways to diversify the Central Florida economic base. Astronauts trained at Kennedy Space Center for (currently) the next-to-last shuttle mission in the shuttle program. In a sign of the rebirth of 'launch row' - another launch complex has been approved to return to business meanwhile in a sign of the times hundreds of shuttle workers were informed of impending lay offs. It was also announced that a former Melbourne teacher, now an astronaut, has been assigned an upcoming slot aboard the International Space Station.

This week at Cape Canaveral saw the red, white and blue honored by one of the most historic of American traditions. It also saw local leaders both working to improve the economic future of the Space Coast region and acknowledging the benefits of the shuttle era extending into another year.

This week marked the continued transition from Shuttle operations to future opportunities. This was highlighted by ground breaking on the new Exploration Park at the Kennedy Space Center. Like research parks at other NASA centers, KSC's Exploration Park is an initiative to attract businesses to KSC. This week also marked the anniversary of one very important past mission.

The past week was a week of change at Cape Canaveral. Organizations within Brevard County united to assist workers the will be laid off when the shuttle era comes to an end sometime next year. At the same time the proposal for there to be one more flight added before the program is ended continued this week. Meanwhile the space shuttle Discovery was fitted with new engines and prepped for her final flight - STS-133. (With video)

Marc's note:
We also have an additional in depth story by Jason Rhian on help for workers on the Space Coast.

Space Coast and National Groups Align to Help Aerospace Workers, SpaceRef

"With some 8,000 space workers facing layoffs at the end of the shuttle program, groups in and around the Kennedy Space Center area are aligning to provide assistance and guidance to help those facing unemployment find new employment. Brevard Workforce Development was recently awarded a $15 million grant to help provide these highly-trained professionals find work in the post-shuttle era. Now the employment-assistance group is putting that money to work with the assistance of other organizations."

After a recent series of launches, this past week was much quieter at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral although two major stories seemed to slide almost under the radar. First it was announced that the investigation regarding cocaine that was discovered in one of the Orbiter Processing Facilities (OPF) was closed. As well it now appears that the launch dates for the last two shuttle scheduled missions will slip back - pushing the end of the program into mid-2011.

Cape Canaveral was in the spotlight this week both domestically and internationally. At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex a grant was unveiled designed to help space workers find work after the end of the shuttle program. An international team visited Kennedy Space Center and expressed their interest in joining the U.S. in future efforts to explore the solar system. To wrap up the week several veteran space flyers were inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Oh, and how about SpaceX, Falcon 9 lifts off on maiden voyage.

In The Cape Week in Review, one chapter in history was closed, while a new one opened. While the space shuttle Atlantis returned home from her final planned mission the private commercial space firm, SpaceX rescheduled the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and the U.S. Air Force launched the first GPS IIF satellite. (With 3 videos)

This week at Cape Canaveral saw the scrubbed launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket with its GPS satellite payload, private space firm SpaceX set a new date for the possible inaugural launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and the Cape marked a number of historic milestones.



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